Know Your Good Fats From Your Bad Fats
A rundown of the healthiest fats and oils―and those to avoid.
Good Fat: Unsaturated
These oils contain some saturated fat. But they’re considered heart-friendly, as they help lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol,
and some raise the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol. They include polyunsaturated fats (like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids,
which help build cell membranes) and monounsaturated fats high in vitamin E, which is lacking in most Americans’ diets.
Canola Oil (7 percent saturated fat)
Made from: Seeds of the rapeseed plant.
Used in: Salad dressings, some margarines, frying food.
Pros: Good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point.
Con: Has fewer antioxidants than olive oil.
Sunflower Oil (About 10 percent saturated fat)
Made from: Sunflower seeds.
Used in: Some margarines; processed snack foods, like cookies and crackers.
Pros: High in unsaturated fat. Flavorless and colorless.
Con: Susceptible to oxidation, so restaurants may use an unhealthy, partially hydrogenated variety.
Corn Oil (About 13 percent saturated fat)
Made from: The germ of corn.
Used in: Salad dressings, corn chips, some margarines, baked goods, microwave popcorn, general cooking.
Pros: A good source of omega-6 fatty acids. Neutral in flavor. High smoke point. Inexpensive.
Con: Often hydrogenated (which adds unhealthy trans fats) in processed and deep-fried restaurant foods.
Olive Oil (14 percent saturated fat)
Made from: Olives.
Used in: Salad dressings, some canned tunas, Mediterranean cooking; it’s drizzled on cooked foods for extra flavor.
Pros: Tastes good. High in antioxidants.
Con: The tastiest extra-virgin varieties are expensive.
Soybean Oil (15 percent saturated fat)
Made from: Soybeans.
Used in: Salad dressings, mayonnaise, sautéed dishes, processed snack foods (in its partially hydrogenated form).
Pros: A good source of vitamin E. Inexpensive and widely available.
Con: In this country, most soybean oil in prepared foods is hydrogenated (though the bottled form is not).
Peanut Oil (17 percent saturated fat)
Made from: Peanuts.
Used in: Roasted nuts, high-heat searing and frying.
Pros: Nutty taste. High smoke point.
Con: More expensive than soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils. Potentially allergenic.
Most Popular Galleries
If your dark circles aren’t quite this adorable, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Try these (en)lightening strategies to minimize them.