Animal Fats: Calories & Nutrition Facts
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In regard to nutrition facts, animal fats are composed of triglycerides, a type of lipid made up of three different fatty acids. These fats contain no carbohydrate or protein – most of the calorie content comes from a combination of saturated and unsaturated fats rather than protein or carbs. Feel free to use the calorie calculator included in this site to determine the number of calories from fat each product in this category contains. Animal fats are an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, though they typically do not contain minerals unless the product has been fortified by a manufacturer.
Animal Fats vs. Plant OilsOne of the main points nutritionists make in defending the use of animal fats over vegetable oils is the fact that animal fats are natural. Vegetable oils are often hydrogenated through a chemical process that alters the oil from its natural state to increase shelf-life whereas many animal fats can be used with little alteration. The main nutritional difference between animal fats and plant oils is the saturated fat content. Plant oils like olive oil contain a higher percentage of monounsaturated fats while fats derived from animal protein are higher in saturated fat.
Saturated vs. Unsaturated FatAnimal fats are made up of a combination of saturated and unsaturated fat – the ratio for the two varies from one type of animal fat to another. For example, beef fat contains about a 50:50 ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat while chicken fat has a ratio closer to 30:70. A calorie counter will help you to determine the number of calories from saturated fat versus unsaturated fat for each product.
Though there are certainly health risks involved in consuming too much saturated fat, eating a balanced diet that includes animal fats will not significantly increase your risk for chronic disease. In fact, animal fats are the foundation of some popular modern diets including the Paleo Diet which is known for helping to lower risk for chronic disease.