Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. The Truth About Fats

    According to the American Heart Association (AHA), healthful unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, appear to not raise LDL cholesterol, and some studies suggest they might even help lower “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol slightly when eaten as part of a low saturated and low trans fat diet.

    Healthful, unsaturated fats are found in plant-based foods such as olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, and avocadoes, and also in fatty fish, specifically salmon, tuna and sardines. Incorporating small amounts of these foods into your diet can not only help with favorable cholesterol levels, but can also increase satiety, improve mood, and keep skin healthy, according to research.

    On the other hand, saturated fats are thought to raise blood cholesterol. Saturated fat is found mainly in animal foods, including beef, beef fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheeses and other dairy products made from whole and 2 percent milk. According to The American Heart Association, saturated fat is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol.

    Trans fats have also been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels. While trans fats (or trans-fatty acids, TFAs) are naturally occurring in small amounts in various animal products such as beef, pork, lamb and the butterfat in butter and milk, most TFAs found in the diet are formed during the process of hydrogenation, making margarine, shortening, cooking oils and the foods made from them a major source of TFA in the American diet. According to the American Heart Association, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils provide about three-fourths of the TFA in the U.S. diet. The trans fat content of foods is printed on the package on the Nutrition Facts label. The recommendation from the AHA is to keep trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total calories. For example, if you need 2,000 calories a day, you should consume less than 20 grams of trans fat.

    Here are some tips for improving the fat profile of your diet:

    • Replace saturated-fats such as cheese and butter with unsaturated fats such as nuts and olive oil.
    • Consume non-fat dairy products such as skim milk, 0% fat yogurt and non-fat cottage cheese.
    • Eliminate commercially-prepared fried foods, which often contain trans fat, including donuts, French fries, fried chicken, etc.

    Check out the Diet-to-Go Balance Meal Plan which controls the calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol for you! 


    Author: Kristen Ciuba
    Kristen is a Nutritionist at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. She tries to “practice what she preaches” by fitting in healthy foods and cooking, challenging exercise, and quality time with family and friends every day!  


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