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Facts about monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fatty acid; MUFA; Oleic acid; Cholesterol - monounsaturated fat; Atherosclerosis - monounsaturated fat; Hardening of the arteries - monounsaturated fat; Hyperlipidemia - monounsaturated fat; Hypercholesterolemia - monounsaturated fat; Coronary artery disease - monounsaturated fat; Heart disease - monounsaturated fat; Peripheral artery disease - monounsaturated fat; PAD - monounsaturated fat; Stroke - monounsaturated fat; CAD - monounsaturated fat; Heart healthy diet - monounsaturated fat

Monounsaturated fat is a type of dietary fat. It is one of the healthy fats, along with polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but start to harden when chilled.

Saturated fats and trans fats are solid at room temperature. These unhealthy fats can increase your risk for heart disease and other health problems.

Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods, such as nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils. Eating moderate amounts of monounsaturated (and polyunsaturated) fats in place of saturated and trans fats can benefit your health.

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How Monounsaturated Fats Affect Your Health

Monounsaturated fats are good for your health in several ways:

How Much you can eat

Your body needs some fats for energy and other functions. Monounsaturated fats are a healthy choice.

How much should you get every day? Here are recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

Eating healthier fats is good for your health. But eating too much fat can lead to weight gain. All fats contain 9 calories per gram of fat. This is more than twice the amount found in carbohydrates and protein.

It is not enough to add foods high in unsaturated fats to a diet filled with unhealthy foods and fats. Instead, replace saturated or trans fats with healthier fats.

Reading Nutrition Labels

All packaged foods have a nutrition label that includes fat content. Reading food labels can help you keep track of how much fat you eat.

Making Healthy Food Choices

Most foods have a combination of all types of fats. Some have higher amounts of healthy fats than others. Foods and oils with higher amounts of monounsaturated fats include:

To get the health benefits, you need to replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats. Here are some ideas:

References

Mozaffarian D. Nutrition and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 49.

Sacks FM, McManus K. Cardiovascular disease and lifestyle modification. In: Antman EM, Sabatine MS, eds. Cardiovascular Therapeutics: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 26.

US Department of Health and Human Services; US Department of Agriculture. 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Updated December 2015. Accessed July 13, 2018.

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Review Date: 4/23/2018  

Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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