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  • Nutrients **: Food or beverages that provide energy or are necessary for growth and repair. Examples of nutrients are vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

  • Saturated fat **: Fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acid radicals. Often described as "solid" fats. Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include dairy products (especially cream and cheese but also butter and ghee), animal fats such as suet, tallow, lard and fatty meat, coconut oil, cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil, chocolate, and some prepared foods.

  • Trans fat **: Another name for trans fats is "partially hydrogenated oils." Trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid - a process called hydrogenation. These partially-hydrogenated oils are inexpensive to produce and tend to keep food fresh longer. The consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats can be found in many foods - but especially in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and commercially-baked goods including pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings. Some commercial restaurants may also use partially-hydrogenated oils when frying their entrees and side items.

  • Polyunsaturated **: Polyunsaturated fats are fats that have more than one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule. Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and when chilled. Polyunsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease. They also include essential fats that our body needs but can't produce itself - such as omega-6 and omega-3. Foods high in polyunsaturated fat include a number of vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout. Other sources include some nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds.

  • Monounsaturated **: Monounsaturated fats are fats that have one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule. Monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats. Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body's cells. Examples of foods high in monounsaturated fats include vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil. Other sources include avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

  • Cholesterol **: Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body because it's used for producing cell membranes and some hormones, and serves other needed bodily functions. Too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease and for stroke. Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol. The other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal based food such as meats, poultry, egg yolks, and whole milk.

  • MyPyramid Food Guide **: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been published jointly every 5 years since 1980 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. They serve as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education programs.

**For more detailed definitions please visit the links embedded in the terms found in the definitions section.