I’m sure if you have ever followed anything related to nutrition you have heard about saturated fats (SFA) vs. monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). You probably know it is important to limit the amount of SFA you consume in your diet by replacing them with MUFA or PUFA foods to promote improved heart health. Recommendations published in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that you should consume less than 10% of your calories from SFA per day. Foods high in SFA you shouldavoid include: coconut oil, butter, stick margarine, pork fat, beef fat and chicken fat. Good alternatives that are higher in MUFA and PUFA include: soft margarine, olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds and fish. Overall, as a rule of thumb, decrease solid fats you consume and replace them with more liquid fats (stick butter vs. oils). Think of it this way, if it goes in as a solid fat, thats how it stays in your body. Another important thing to remember is that no matter what source your fat is coming from, fat is high in calories (9 calories/gram); therefore, in terms of weight loss, although MUFA and PUFA are a much healthier alternative to SFA, you should still limit your intake to 5-10% of calories/day.
Information provided is from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May, 2012 issue.