Fat is an essential nutrient needed to help our bodies function properly. The key is to maintain a level of fat intake that our body needs without going overboard. Too much fat in the diet can lead to high cholesterol, increased risk for heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
It is important to remember that there is a difference between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. It is saturated fat and dietary cholesterol that are the main culprits in raising blood cholesterol.
What does your Lipid Panel mean?
A fat-like waxy substance in blood. In excess, can form tough, fatty plaques that clog arteries.
|Desirable: 120 - 199 mg/dl|
Borderline: 200 - 239 mg/dl
High Risk: >240 mg/dl
|Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL)|
"Bad cholesterol" Primary transporter of cholesterol in the blood. Help cholesterol stick to artery walls.
|Desirable: <130 mg/dl|
Borderline: 130 - 159 mg/dl
High risk: >160 mg/dl
|High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)|
"Good Cholesterol" Help remove cholesterol from the body and prevent build up in the artery walls.
|Desirable: >35mg/dl |
Exercising can help raise HDLs
Dietary fats not completely broken down by the liver.
|Desirable: <200 mg/dl|
Borderline: 200 - 400 mg/dl
High: 400 - 1000 mg/dl
Very High: >1000 mg/dl
What does it all mean on a food label?
|Type of Fat||Major Food Source|
|Saturated Fat: ||Meat Fats: organ meats, bacon, beef, lamb, pork, chicken skin, hot dogs, cold cuts, lard, salt pork.|
Dairy Fats: whole milk, regular yogurt, hard cheese, ice cream, butter, cream, sour cream, cream cheese.
Oils: coconut, cocoa butter, chocolate, palm, palm kernel oil.
|Monounsaturated Fat: ||Oils: canola, olive, peanut.|
Nuts: almonds, filberts, peanuts, peanut butter, pistachios, pecans, macadamia, hickory, Brazil nuts, cashews.
Vegetables: avocado, olives.
|Polyunsaturated Fat: ||Oils (vegetable oils): safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, sesame, cottonseed.|
Nuts: chestnuts, soynuts, walnuts.
Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, sunflower.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
|Best (fatty fish): mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovy, bluefish, whitefish, lake trout.|
Good: brook trout, catfish, mussels, oysters, halibut, rainbow trout, tuna.
Adequate: cod, crab, flounder, lobster, red snapper, shrimp, sole, scallop.
|Dietary Cholesterol: |
AHA guidelines recommend less than 300mg of dietary cholesterol a day when following the step II diet.
|Comes only from animal sources such as dairy products, egg yolks, meat, poultry, and seafood.|
Plant sources like vegetables, fruits, and grains do not contain cholesterol.
Remember: saturated fat is the key culprit in elevating blood cholesterol.