What are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats?
and monounsaturated fat are both unsaturated fats. “Poly” means
many unsaturated chemical bonds and “mono” means one unsaturated
chemical bond. These unsaturated fats are often found in liquid vegetable
oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator. Common
sources of polyunsaturated fat are safflower, sesame and sunflower seeds,
corn and soybeans, many nuts and seeds, and their oils.
- Monounsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature but start to solidify
at refrigerator temperatures. Canola, olive, and peanut oils, and avocados
are sources of monounsaturated fat.
types of unsaturated fats may help lower your blood cholesterol level when
used in place of saturated fat in your diet. Remember to be moderate
in your intake of all types of fat.
- Poly- or monounsaturated oils — and margarines and spreads made from
these oils — should be used in limited amounts in place of fats with
a high saturated fat content, such as butter, lard, or hydrogenated shortenings.
- By substituting monounsaturated fat in your diet for saturated and polyunsaturated
fats you may be able to keep HDL cholesterol levels high and LDL cholesterol
levels low. Overall the highest intake of fat should be from the monounsaturated
type (12 – 20 percent of total calories).
Tips for replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats
oils containing monounsaturated fat like olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil,
and sesame oil, instead of oils high in saturated fat like coconut oil and
- Use oils high
in polyunsaturated fats like corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and cottonseed
oils instead of coconut oil, palm oil, or hydrogenated vegetable fats.
- Use liquid
oils instead of butter, lard, or hardened vegetable shortening.
- Eat foods high
in unsaturated fats like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna) instead of meats
high in saturated fat.
- Incorporate foods
high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, and
olive oil into your salads instead of using products high in saturated fats
like mayonnaise based dressings.
- Try the new plant-sterol
Trans Fat - Foods high in trans fat also raise blood cholesterol. “Trans” is
also a word that refers to the chemical structure of certain unsaturated fats
when they have had hydrogen added to them to make them firm. Foods with
the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” in their ingredient
list are likely to be high in trans fat. Baked goods, snack foods, fried
foods, margarines, and shortenings often contain trans fats. The best way to
find out if a food contains trans fat is to look on the Nutrition Facts label
or look for partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredients list.
Tips for Reducing Trans Fat Intake
- Look for processed foods
made with unhydrogenated oil rather than hydrogenated oil or saturated fat.
If it doesn’t say “hydrogenated” or “partially
hydrogenated,” it is unhydrogenated fat.
- Use margarine as a substitute
for butter, and choose soft (liquid or tub) margarines over harder, stick
forms. Use margarine and other products that contain liquid vegetable oil
as the first ingredient and no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.
for trans fat information on the Nutrition Facts label and choose products
with no trans fat added.
Consuming Excess Calories – Eating too many calories
leads to weight gain. Weight gain can raise your LDL cholesterol levels,
triglyceride levels, and blood glucose levels.
Back to: Eating for Cardiovascular Health
This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.