The days of single-minded fat phobia are officially over. We now recognize that olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean and nut oils are important sources of fat-soluble vitamins, and they help make foods taste delicious, no small contribution. And, like all fats that are liquid at room temperature, they’re unsaturated fats, which can protect the heart by helping prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries. Especially heart-healthy are sources rich in so-called “monounsaturated” fats, including olive, canola and “high-oleic” sunflower or safflower oil, as well as avocados and olives.
Note that fats like butter, lard, shortening and cream don’t fit into this category—these “solid fats” (thus named because they’re solid at room temperature) contain too much saturated fat to qualify as a daily staple. Instead, they’re counted as “discretionary” calories to use as occasional luxuries.