Avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol is one way to reduce your risk for heart disease. Despite
what you may have heard, though, fats aren’t necessarily bad for you – your body needs a certain amount of fat to function. However, all fats are not created equal.
This is how the different fats compare, and how they fit into a healthy eating plan:
Trans-fats are produced during the processing of margarines and vegetable shortenings. Any processed
foods made with partially hydrogenated oil (read the label for ingredients) contain trans-fatty acids, which
also raise cholesterol levels. Foods that contain these fats are margarines, vegetable shortenings, certain
baked goods (cookies, crackers, pastries), deep-fried foods.
Recommendation: Eat less trans-fat
Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet. This type of fat is found in
large quantities of animal products, including fatty meats, cold cuts, poultry skin, cheeses, butter, shortening, chocolate and coconut.
Recommendation: Eat less saturated fat
Dietary Cholesterol is produced naturally by the body. Dietary cholesterol also is found in foods that are
derived from animals, but not plants, and tends to raise blood cholesterol. It’s found in eggs, organ meats, shrimp, crab, squid, meat, dairy products, poultry and fish.
Recommendation: Eat less cholesterol
Monounsaturated fats help reduce your blood cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats. They are
found in the greatest amounts in food from plants, including olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, nuts (including
almonds, filberts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, peanuts), avocado, pickled herring, peanut butter.
Recommendation: Use monounsaturated fats
Using monounsaturated fats…Here are some tips for getting more monounsaturated fats into your diet:
For baking: Use canola oil instead of shortening, margarine or other oils.
For sautéing: Use canola or olive oils. Caution – if cooking at high temperatures, use canola oil.
As a spread: Use almond, hazelnut, cashew or walnut butter on toast or a bagel, or spread on an apple,
carrot or celery sticks as a snack.
In salads: Use extra virgin olive oil (1 or 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar) with flavored vinegars. For a
gourmet touch, try walnut, hazelnut or avocado oil.