Oil and Fats

Picture of healthy oils and fats

Oils are part of healthy eating styles because they provide nutrients for the body like fatty acids and vitamin E. They also enhance the flavor of your food. 

Some oils are eaten as a natural part of the food such as in nuts, olives, avocados, and seafood. Other oils are refined and added to a food during processing or preparation such as soybean, canola, and safflower oils. Choose the right amount of oil to stay within your daily calorie needs. 

What are oils and fats?

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like vegetable oils used in cooking. Oils come from many different plants and nuts, and even from fish. Oils are not a food group, but they provide essential nutrients and should be part of your eating patterns. 

Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like beef fat, butter, and shortening. Solid fats mainly come from animal foods and can also be made from vegetable oils through a process called hydrogenation.

Diagram of nutrition facts panel.

What are saturated and trans fats?

Solid fats contain more saturated fats and/or trans fats than oils. Saturated fats and trans fats tend to raise “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood, which increases the risk for heart disease. To lower risk for heart disease, eat less foods containing saturated fats and trans fats. 

If you are unsure if your food contains saturated or trans fats, take a look at the Nutrition Facts. Remember, it is important to limit the amount of saturated fat you eat each day.

Oils are part of a healthy eating pattern. But remember, oils still contain calories. Oils and solid fats both contain about 120 calories per tablespoon. The amount of oil you eat should be limited to balance your total calorie intake. 

For more information about oils and fats, click here.