Meet the Fats, some are bad, some are better.

Sure, you’ve heard of them. You’ve probably spotted them on nutrition labels. You may have even read up on them. But how well do you really know the fats? Here’s your chance to get better acquainted with the Fats family: the Bad Fats Brothers and the Better Fats Sisters.

Like any family, the Fats share some common traits. For example, they all give your body energy and they all have 9 calories per gram. But some fats are better than others. Continue to read to meet the Bad Fats Brothers, Sat and Trans, and the Better Fats Sisters, Mon and Poly. Find out what they’re like and where they hang out to help you decide how much you want them as your friends.

The Bad Fats Brothers

They’re a charming pair, Sat and Trans.  But that doesn’t mean they make good friends because they clog arteries and break hearts. Learn how to limit your time with them by avoiding the foods they’re in. Read each profile to know the when and how to stay away from Sat and Trans.




Sat’s my name.  And food loaded with saturated fat is my game.  I’ve been around a long time – even if you don’t recognize me, I’m sure we’ve met before.  After all, I’m in many of the foods you love.

Eating is my greatest passion.  I’m talking big, thick steaks, loaded potatoes and anything with butter in it.  Or on it, or over it…Yum!  The way I see it, food is one of life’s biggest pleasures.  So, how about a bacon cheeseburger?  And you’re gonna have dessert, right?  Let’s have a big piece of cheesecake. C’mon, don’t be shy.  There’s plenty to go around.

You don’t have to look hard to find me – I’m usually hanging out in places like restaurants, grocery stores, vending machines and fast food joints.  Often enough, you’ll find me with my brother Trans.  My favorite foods to hang out in are Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae, Cheeseburgers, T-Bone Steak, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Vanilla Shake.  The more time you and I spend together, the better chance I’ll have to clog your arteries and break your heart. But don’t think about that.  Let’s just sit down and eat.


I’m a fun-loving guy who’s looking to meet new people.   I like to keep my friends happy by giving them everything their hearts desire — especially if what they desire is deep fried and delicious.  Some say I’m a sweet talker, devastatingly handsome and easy to love.

I get a bad rap, though. You see, I grew up in this good family of vegetable oils.   But ever since I got partially hydrogenated, I’ve developed a reputation for raising bad cholesterol, clogging arteries and causing heart disease.  But if you’re into convenience, we could become fast friends.

I’ve never liked being predictable.  One minute, you see me on a nutrition label – next, I’m hiding under my alias, Partially Hydrogenated.  And on a restaurant menu, I’m totally invisible.  (Good trick, huh?)

I hang out a lot with my brother Sat.  He’s a heartbreaker like me, and together we’re a pretty tempting team. They call us the Bad Fats Brothers — which, personally, I think is kind of flattering.  After all, we do love to break hearts.  My brother, Sat.  Despite all those people who’ve given him a hard time, he remains as popular as ever.  I learned everything I know about breaking hearts from him.

My favorite spots to hang out are Biscuits, Fried Chicken Strips, Glazed Doughnuts, French Fries, Plain Croissants.

If you are interested in hanging out with my brother and I together, we can be found in Chicken Pot Pie, Mozzarella Sticks, Chili Cheese French Fries, Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Biscuit, and Carrot Cake.  We get excited when you line up for Burgers and Nuggets and Fries, OH MY!!!

The Better Fats Sisters

These ladies are charmers in their own way — they look out for you and your heart. The sisters love it when you cook with the foods they’re in, and they’ve got lots of great tips to share. Unlike their devious Bad Fats Brothers, they’ll tell you like it is, including what you need to know to stay heart healthy.


My name’s Mon.   That’s short for Monounsaturated Fat. If you’re looking for advice, I’m your gal, especially if it’s about how to lower your risk of heart disease.  So feel free to grill me! You know, some foods are better for your heart than others.   Stick with me and I’ll steer you to the better ones, like fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

Speaking of grilling, it’s one of my favorite ways to cook.   I enjoy it much more than deep-frying.  I often work side by side with my sister Poly.  You can find us in liquid vegetable oils, like olive, canola and soybean.  And our oils are great for heart-healthy cooking.  I recommend them when pan-frying or sautéing, and in salad dressings or marinades.

Do watch how much and how often you eat fatty meat, full-fat dairy, flaky pastries and other foods my Bad Fats Brothers Sat and Trans are in.   Sat and Trans will break your heart.  But not my sister Poly and me – we’re heart helpers.

Now just because I’m heart healthy doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have some fun. You can find me in peanut butter and guacamole. (It’s made with avocados, you know.) You just need to practice moderation when it comes to portion sizes.  After all, I am a Fat.  Come on, do some cooking with Poly and me – we’ll dish and have a good time.


My name’s Polyunsaturated Fat.   Most people call me Poly … because I have more than one unsaturated carbon in the molecule.  I don’t get as much attention as my Bad Fats Brothers, Sat and Trans.  In fact, on many Nutrition Facts labels, I am hidden just like my sister Mon. Here’s a quick tip: Subtract saturated and trans fats from total fats to get roughly the combined amount of Mon and me.

I love to make new friends.   If you cook with me, I’ll help lower your cholesterol.  Specifically, I’ll help lower your bad LDL cholesterol, which means I can help reduce your chance of developing heart disease.  Pretty neat, huh?

With me by your side, you’re sure to get lots of omega-3 and omega-6.   They’re vital for healthy cell development and brain function, but your body alone can’t produce them.  So it’s wise to eat foods rich in the omegas – my personal favorite is salmon.  Other oily fish (like trout and herring), nuts and seeds are good sources, too.

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a heart helper if I didn’t tell you to practice a little moderation.  Mon and I are better for you than Sat and Trans, but you don’t want to go crazy with us.  All fats, bad or better, have 9 calories per gram, more than twice the calories of other foods.  But Mon and I are much kinder to your heart, so spend more time with us than you do saturated and trans fats.

Mon and Poly are almost always found together. These are the foods we like to hang out in: Grilled Trout with Herbs & Lemon, Salad with Olive & Vinegar Dressing, Guacamole, Sunflower Kernels-Unsalted, BBQ Roasted Salmon, and Canola, Olive, and Soybean Oils.

Article courtesy of AHA