Lipids (fats and oils) have almost twice the energy of either carbohydrates or proteins, because they’re made up from fatty acids. The intake of fatty acids is now recognized as one of the most important factors influencing health.
Saturated fatty acids are found most commonly in animal and dairy products. When eaten in excess they increase blood cholesterol levels.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are found mainly in plants, particularly in olive and canola oil. The main monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, is the major oil in the Mediterranean diet and not surprisingly is found in olive oil. Because oleic acid lowers blood cholesterol levels, people who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet have low rates of heart disease.
Substituting monounsaturated fatty acids for saturated fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
|HEALTHY FATS||UNHEALTHY FATS|
|Poly and mono unsaturated spreads and oils (canola, sunflower and olive)||Hydrogenated trans fatty acids (baked products e.g. cakes, biscuits, pastries, some margerines)|
|Fish e.g. salmon, herring, mackrel||Fast foods e.g. pies, pizza, hamburgers|
|Avocados||Fatty processed meats|