Monounsaturated Fat.

10% of calories at most from Saturated Fat.

Before getting into the details of monounsaturated fats, its worth repeating, to reduce the risks of heart disease. At most 10% of your diets calories should come from saturated and hydrogenated fat.

Reduce foods high in saturated/hydrogenated fat, consider replacing them with alternative fats too like monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

If you find a alternatives you like, such as oil olive or sunflower based spreads rather than butter, they are a healthier alternative. The first priority should be in reducing saturated fats!

Animal Fats are a good target to reduce see the meat & dairy pages

Monounsaturated or Polyunsaturated Fat?

Its not a choice as you should use both. Vegetable sources of fat usually have some of each and may have moderately high saturated fat too.

Polyunsaturated fats are known as essential fatty acids, they are needed for the body to function but they too should make up no more than 10% of the calories you eat.

Monounsaturated fats don't have an upper limit but you do need to watch the overall fat level.

If your fortunate enough to have cut back heavily on saturated fat and still want to get 30% (or maybe more) of your diet from fat, foods high in monounsaturated fat are a good choice.

Olive Oil

Olives high in Monounsaturated Fat. Olive Oil and of course Olives are particularly high in monounsaturated fat. Olive oil is often quoted as being a factor in the Mediterranean diet, which while high in monounsaturated fat seems to causes low levels of heart disease.

If you use it (and can afford it) cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is the best. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

Cured Olives (external link) are commonly very salty!

Foods High in Monounsaturated Fat%
Olive Oil73
Canola Oil (rape seed oil)60
Cashew (9% sat. fat)28
Peanut (7-10% sat. fat)26
Brazil (16% sat. fat)26

Nuts High in Saturated Fat

Brazils and to a lesser extent Peanuts and Cashews also have a moderate amount of saturated fat.

While these levels are lower than coconuts 29% saturated fat content. If you are trying to reduce saturated fat in your diet, large quantities of these nuts (especially Brazils) are best avoided. Other nuts may be a better choice.

See the 'Best bet Diet' in the external links section for a detailed breakdown of exactly what's in nuts and seeds.

Are Monounsaturated Fats better than Polyunsaturated Fats for the Heart?

Yes because monounsaturated fat is also thought to lower LDL (Bad cholestoral), without lowering the HDL (Good Cholestorol). Polyunsaturates lowers both.


Who says scientists don't have a sense of humour :-).

If you do any searches for more information try looking for "PUFA" (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid) and to a lesser extent "MUFA" (Monounsaturated Fatty Acid).

External Links