Know Your Fats

Updated:Jul 31,2014

LDL cholesterol is affected by diet. Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don't is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke. Your body naturally produces LDL cholesterol. Eating saturated fat,and trans fat raises your blood cholesterol level even further.

For adults who would benefit from lowering their LDL cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends:

  • Reducing saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day that’s about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Reducing the percent of calories from trans fat.

The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises these fat guidelines for healthy Americans over age 2:

  • Eating between 25 and 35 percent of your total daily calories as fats from foods like fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limiting the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. That means if you need about 2,000 calories a day, less than 140 calories (or 16 grams) should come from saturated fats.
  • Limiting the amount of trans fats to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. That means if you need about 2,000 calories a day, less than 20 calories (or 2 grams) should come from trans fats.
  • Limiting cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day for most people.
  • For good health, the majority of fats you eat should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

It's easier to gauge how much healthy and unhealthy food you are eating by using a food diary to keep track of what you eat for a period of time.

Know Your Fats

The majority of saturated fat comes from animal products such as beef, lamb, pork poultry with skin, butter, cream, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or 2 percent milk,. All of these foods also contain dietary cholesterol. Foods from plants that contain saturated fat include coconut, coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils) and cocoa butter. For people who need to lower their cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total daily calories.




This content was last reviewed on 04/21/2014.


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