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Making Sense of Foods

Fats: Where Is the Fat in Food?

Avoiding fatty foods is an important way to stay healthy, lower cholesterol, and keep weight under control.

Animal products are loaded with fat. Even the leanest cuts of beef, for example, are about 30 percent fat, as a percentage of calories. Chicken is also high in fat. Even without the skin, chicken breast derives 23 percent of its calories from fat. While fish vary, most are surprisingly high in fat. Common cuts of salmon, for example, are about 42 percent fat.

Ditto for dairy. Typical cheeses get, believe it or not, about two-thirds of their calories from fat, most of which is saturated ("bad") fat. Ice cream, whole and 2 percent milk, and typical yogurts are high in fat.

Vegetable oils and fried foods are fatty, too. Be cautious about foods prepared with added oils (e.g., typical salad dressings), fried foods (e.g., potato chips and French fries), and commercially prepared baked goods (e.g., muffins, cakes, and cookies).

In contrast, grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits are very low in fat. Most derive fewer than 10 percent of their calories from fat. So keeping fat low is easy when you build a healthy menu from these foods.

fats to avoid


Fats: Types of Fat >>