Updated: Oct 19, 2020
When it comes to diet, fats get a bad rap. Some of this is justified because certain types of fat — and the fat-like substance cholesterol — may play a role in:
But not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better for you than others and may even help to promote good health. Knowing the difference can help you determine which fats to avoid and which to eat in moderation.
Research is continuing to evolve on dietary fat, but some facts are clear. Dietary fat, also known as fatty acids, can be found in foods from both plants and animals. Certain fats have been linked to negative effects on heart health, but others have been found to offer significant health benefits.
Fat is as essential to your diet as protein and carbohydrates are in fueling your body with energy. Certain bodily functions also rely on the presence of fat. For example, some vitamins require fat in order to dissolve into your bloodstream and provide nutrients.
However, the excess calories from eating too much fat of any type can lead to weight gain. Foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids, but the predominant type of fat they contain is what makes them more healthy or less healthy.