Dietary fats are something many people wrongly believe they should avoid when trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. However, the truth is that with the exception of trans fats, dietary fats are essential for good health and something that you should be eating regularly.

This article will take a detailed look at the four main types of dietary fats and provide you with a full overview of each one.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are probably the most vilified of the four fats with many sources claiming that they lead to clogged arteries, heart disease and more. However, the truth is that saturated fats are essential for good health and without them your body would not function properly. The roles of saturated fats in the body include:

  • Protecting against heart disease
  • Strengthening your bones
  • Strengthening your cell wells
  • Strengthening your immune system
  • Strengthening your nervous system
  • Strengthening your vital organs

Animal products such as butter, dairy and red meat are excellent sources of saturated fats. However, if you’re a vegetarian, avocado, coconut and other types of nuts are a great way to fill up on this nutrient.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats keep your blood healthy and also protect your body against a number of unpleasant ailments. The list below highlights the main functions of monounsaturated fats in your body:

  • Improving blood glucose regulation
  • Increasing blood levels of HDL cholesterol (which helps to clear LDL cholesterol from your artery walls)
  • Increasing the rate at which your body burns fat
  • Protecting against cancer
  • Protecting against inflammation
  • Reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol (which builds up in your artery walls and restricts blood flow)

Monounsaturated fats are almost exclusively found in pant based foods with avocados, olive oil, most nuts and most seeds containing high levels of these health boosting fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats can be broken down into two main types – omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and omega 6 EFAs. They benefit your body in the following ways:

  • Boosting your brain
  • Boosting your skin
  • Boosting your vision
  • Protecting against cancer
  • Protecting against heart disease
  • Strengthening your bones

Some of the best food sources of omega 3 EFAs include cold water fish (such as anchovies and salmon), dairy products and flaxseed oil. Some of the best food sources of omega 6 EFAs include most types of nuts and sunflower seed oil.

Trans Fats

Unlike the three dietary fats listed above, trans fats are not required by your body and consuming them can actually be damaging to your health. They are a man-made, artificial type of fat which food manufacturers use to extend the shelf life of their products and something you want to avoid where possible. The negative symptoms of consuming trans fats include:

  • Increased Alzheimer’s risk
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Increased heart disease risk

Trans fats are mainly added to processed products such as burgers, cakes, cookies, fries, frozen foods and pizzas. Therefore, if you limit your intake of these foods and focus on fresh, natural options instead, you’ll avoid the health risks associated with trans fats.


I hope this article has helped you learn more about dietary fats and their importance when it comes to your health. So if you’re not doing so already, ditch the trans fats, fill up on saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and enjoy all their health benefits.

This website puts documents at your disposal only and solely for information purposes. They can not in any way replace the consultation of a physician or the care provided by a qualified practitioner and should therefore never be interpreted as being able to do so.