To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Types of Fats

Table of Contents


Fat is one of the major nutrients. Fats give you energy. They also help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Some fats are healthier than others.

Healthy fats

Polyunsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature. This fat is better for you than saturated fat. It is found mainly in safflower, sunflower, and corn oils. It is also the main fat in seafood. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are examples. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. So do ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, soybeans, nuts, and seeds.

Monounsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature but gets solid when you refrigerate it. Eating foods that are high in this fat may help lower your bad cholesterol, raise your good cholesterol, and lower your chances of getting coronary artery disease. This fat is found in canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, olives, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats are far better for you than saturated fat.

Less healthy fats

Saturated fat is solid at room temperature. It is found mostly in animal-based foods (such as meat, butter, milk, and cheese) and in coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter. Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol. No more than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fat. This is about 20 grams of saturated fat in 2,000 calories.

Credits for Types of Fats

Current as of: May 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.