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Facts About Dietary Fat

Eating less fat is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Start by finding out which fats are better to use. Then always try to use as little as you can.

Why Eat Less Fat?

  • Cutting down on the fat you eat can lower your blood cholesterol levels. This may help prevent clogged arteries from buildup of plaque.

  • A low-fat diet can help you lose excess weight. Doing so can lower your blood pressure and reduce your chances of getting diabetes.

  • A low-fat diet reduces your risk for stroke and for some cancers.

Unsaturated Fat Is Most Healthy

  • When you must add fat, use unsaturated fat.

  • Unsaturated fats come from plants. They include olive, canola, peanut, corn, avacados, safflower, and sunflower oils.

  • Liquid (squeezable) margarine is also mostly unsaturated fat.

  • In moderate amounts, unsaturated fat can even be good for your heart.

Butter, cheese, coconut, red meat, and whole milk. "Try to Avoid" written below.

Saturated Fat Is Less Healthy

  • Avoid eating saturated fat because it raises your blood cholesterol levels.

  • Most saturated fat comes from animals. Foods such as butter, lard, cheese, cream, whole milk, and fatty cuts of meat are high in saturated fat.

  • Some oils, such as palm and coconut oils, are also saturated fats.

Trans Fat Is Least Healthy

  • Also avoid trans fat whenever possible. Even if it’s not listed on the food label, look for it in the ingredients in the form of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

  • This is found in snack foods, shortening, french fries, and stick margarines.

Add Flavor Without Fat

  • Sprinkle herbs on fish, chicken, and meat, and in soups.

  • Try herbs, lemon juice, or flavored vinegar on vegetables.

  • Add chopped onions, garlic, and peppers to flavor beans and rice.

Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, RD, CD
Last Review Date: 12/18/2012
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.