Fats and Oils

  • Eric Zacharias


Understanding the structure, function, nomenclature, and clinical effects of fats is necessary when discussing a Mediterranean diet with patients. The most important concept regarding fats is that they can vary greatly in their health effects on the human body. In the past, knowledge that avoidance of some fats could reduce heart disease led to overly general recommendations to avoid all fats, irrespective of type. As a result of advances in understanding the benefits of consuming so-called healthy fats, advice to avoid all types of fats as a strategy for health is now rare in the medical literature. For example, the American Heart Association (AHA), a former advocate for aggressive restriction of all fats, no longer advises this strategy. The AHA dietary guidelines recognize that, consistent with a MedDiet, obtaining up to 35% of all calories from healthy unsaturated fatty acids while avoiding trans-fats and minimizing saturated fatty acids (SFAs) is an effective coronary heart disease preventive dietary strategy [1, 2].


Mediterranean diet Saturated fatty acid Monounsaturated fatty acid Polyunsaturated fatty acid Triacylglycerols Triglycerides Phospholipids Cholesterol Lipoproteins 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Zacharias
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineBoulder Medical CenterBoulderUSA

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