Do Vegetables Contain Fat?

Butter, oils, fried foods and fatty meats all have varying amounts of fat, and surprisingly, so do some vegetables. The fat amount in vegetables pales in comparison to the fat in high-calorie, high-fat foods, but if you are monitoring how many fat grams you eat during the day, learning which vegetables have fat will help you accurately assess your fat intake.

Asparagus for sale at a farmer's market. (Image: Barbara Vallance/iStock/Getty Images)

Fat Requirement

The fat found in vegetables will help you meet your overall fat requirements in a healthy manner. Unlike meat products, which can have substantial amounts of saturated fats, the fat primarily found in most vegetables is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. You need a minimum of 20 percent of your calories from fat each day, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating a maximum of 35 percent of your calories from fat each day. Each gram of fat contains nine calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, 35 percent fat equals 700 calories or 65 grams of fat. For example, your breakfast may contain 12 grams of fat, lunch 26 grams and dinner 27 grams. Limit daily saturated fat intake to 20 grams, and get the remaining 45 grams from healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Peas, Lentils and Beans

Peas, lentils and beans all contain some fat. Soybeans contain the most fat among the legume family, with 1 cup of green, cooked soybeans having 11.52 grams, or 41 percent of its calories from fat. The fat in soybeans is 90 percent healthy fats, and about 1 percent saturated fats. Kidney beans have 1.54 grams of fat per cup, black beans have 0.9 grams of fat and Great Northern beans have 0.8 grams in 1 cooked cup. Cooked lentils have 0.8 grams of fat per cup, and 1 cup of cooked peas has an average of 0.6 grams of fat. The peas, lentils and beans have trace amounts of saturated fat, while the majority of the fat comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Green Vegetables

Most green vegetables have small amounts of fat. Cabbage has just 0.07 grams of fat per cup, or 3 percent of its 18 calories. Cauliflower and broccoli both have about 0.3 grams of fat per cup, which is about 10 percent of their total calories. The fat is over 90 percent healthy fat, and just a trace of the fat comes from saturated fat. Spinach, collard greens and turnip greens all contain fat, with spinach having 0.12 grams per cup, and the greens having about 0.17 grams per cup. A cup of chopped, unpeeled zucchini has 0.4 grams of fat, of which 75 percent is healthy fats, and 25 percent is from saturated fat. A cup of cucumber has 0.12 grams of fat.

Other Vegetables

Tomatoes have small amounts of fat. A cup of chopped or sliced tomato has only 0.36 grams of fat. The fat in tomatoes comes from mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Corn and white potatoes, both starchy vegetables have 2.23 grams and 0.21 grams per serving, respectively. Winter squash such as butternut squash has 0.18 grams of fat, and 1 cup of cooked pumpkin has 0.17 grams of fat. The fat in these starchy vegetables comes primarily from healthy fats, making them all good, nutritious choices.

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