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Fats are present in both animal and plant foods. The animal foods that provide the richest sources of fats are meats, especially fatty meats such as bacon, sausage, and luncheon meats; whole, low-fat, and reduced-fat milk; cream; butter; cheeses made with cream; egg yolks (egg white contains no fat; it is almost entirely protein and water); and fatty fish such as tuna and salmon.
The plant foods containing the richest sources of fats are cooking oils made from olives sunflower, safflower, or sesame seeds or from corn, peanuts, or soybeans, margarine (which is made from vegetable oils), nuts, avocados, coconut, and cocoa butter.
Sometimes fats are referred to as visible or invisible, depending on their food sources. Fats that are purchased and used as fats such as butter, margarine, lard, and cooking oils are called visible fats. Hidden or invisible fats are those found in other foods such as meats, cream, whole milk, cheese, egg yolk, fried foods, pastries, avocados, and nuts.
It is often the invisible fats that can make it difficult for clients on limited-fat diets to regulate their fat intake. For example, one 3-inch doughnut may contain 12 grams of fat, whereas one 3-inch bagel contains only 2 grams of fat. One fried chicken drumstick may contain 11 grams of fat, whereas one roasted drumstick may contain only 2 grams of fat.
It is essential that the health care professional confirm that clients on limited-fat diets are carefully educated about sources of hidden fats.
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