Not all fats are created equal

December 9, 2008 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Not all fats are created equal

Eating saturated fats and trans fats can boost our risk of obesity and heart disease, while consuming monounsaturated fat can be good for our waistlines and heart.

In this new study, researchers from the University of Montreal sought to discover if these fats have an equal effect on our body weight - or are some fats better than others?

Using statistics from 168 countries around the world, the research team studied the prevalence of obesity in women aged 15 and older.

For each year between 1998 and 2002, the total amount of calories from fat was calculated for each person.

In the countries like France, Denmark and Italy where monounsaturated fats were the main source of fat in the diet, few women were found to be overweight.

High obesity rates were seen in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Peru where consumption of monounsaturated fats is low.

In Canada, 40 percent of women's daily total fat intake (147 grams) came from monounsaturated fat (59 grams) however a large proportion of women are obese (22 percent).

Family history of obesity, daily exercise habits, consumption of fruit and vegetables may explain why almost 1 in 4 Canadian women are obese despite a relatively high intake of monounsaturated fat, explains this study's author.

While monounsaturated fats are better for your heart and may help to manage weight gain, all fats - saturated, trans and monounsaturated - contain 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbohydrates have only 4 calories per gram.

Olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado, hazelnuts and almonds are high in monounsaturated fat while butter, lard, red meat and cheese are high in saturated fat. Trans fats are found in baked goods and snack foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.

For tips on how increase your intake of "good" monounsaturated fat and manage your body weight and heart health, check out Leslie Beck's newest book, Heart Healthy Foods for Life.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.