Finding fat in all kinds of foods

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As a general rule:

1 Fruits and vegetables have only traces of fat, primarily unsaturated fatty acids.

1 Grains have small amounts of fat, up to 3 percent of their total weight.

1 Dairy products vary. Cream is a high-fat food. Regular milks and cheeses are moderately high in fat. Skim milk and skim milk products are low-fat foods. Most of the fat in any dairy product is saturated fatty acids.

1 Meat is moderately high in fat, and most of its fats are saturated fatty acids.

1 Poultry (chicken and turkey), without the skin, is relatively low in fat.

1 Fish may be high or low in fat, primarily unsaturated fatty acids that — lucky for the fish — remain liquid even when the fish is swimming in cold water. (Saturated fats harden when cooled.)

1 Vegetable oils, butter, and lard are high-fat foods. Most of the fatty acids in vegetable oils are unsaturated; most of the fatty acids in lard and butter are saturated.

1 Processed foods, such as cakes, breads, canned or frozen meat, and vegetable dishes, are generally higher in fat than plain grains, meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Here's a simple guide to finding which foods are high (or low) in fat. Oils are virtually 100 percent fat. Butter and lard are close behind. After that, the fat level drops, from 70 percent for some nuts down to 2 percent for most bread. The rule to take away from these numbers? A diet high in grains and plants always is lower in fat than a diet high in meat and oils.

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