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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do unhealthy fats in the diet contribute to cholesterol?

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  • Gaby Wolf

    Exercise Physiologist

    As an Exercise Physiologist, I specialise in improving the balance, mobility and quality of life of older adults through specific falls prevention exercises. I am … View Profile

    Unhealthy fats or saturated fats that we eat contribute to cholesterol as it increases the presence of LDL (low-density lipotprotein), which is used to carry the cholesterol to our blood vessels. Too much LDL cholesterol builds up along the artery walls causing a hard, plaque substance. This process is known as Atherosclerosis. Over time, this hardening will lead to a blockage that can prevent blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, or prevent blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. 

    Gaby Wolf (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)

  • Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Saturated and trans fats in the diet increase levels of bad LDl cholesterol in the blood by influencing the liver. In response to saturated and trans fats your liver manufactures more LDL cholesterol. Conversely, your liver will make less LDL cholesterol in response to polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats in the diet. The balance of fats in the diet is most important: the good fats need to outweigh the bad to encourage your liver to make less bad LDL cholesterol and more of the good HDL cholesterol. Your liver is a marvellous organ and cholesterol balance is but one of the many jobs it performs.

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Foods like cheese, butter, sausage, biscuits, cakes, and desserts may taste good to you, but they can have a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol. Eating too much of these unhealthy fats could lead to high cholesterol and heart disease.
    Start with small changes first. Use heart-healthy olive or canola oil instead of butter for cooking. Drink fat-free or low-fat milk instead of 2% milk or whole milk. Pick leaner cuts of meat.
    Eating foods that contain saturated fats or trans fats can raise the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in your blood. Having a high level of LDL cholesterol increases your chance of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to coronary heart disease and heart attack.
    Trans fats also are unhealthy. Try as much as possible to avoid eating them. Trans fat raises the level of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood and lowers the “good” HDL cholesterol in your blood.
    HDL cholesterol is important. It helps clear the bad cholesterol from your blood so it does not clog your arteries. A high level of HDL can lower your risk of having a heart attack.
    Remember, your body needs some fat to be healthy. Use the example below as a guide for eating less saturated fat.
    In general:
    No more than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. This is about 20 grams of fat in a 2,000-calorie diet.
    No more than 10% of your daily calories should come from polyunsaturated fat. This is about 20 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.
    Monounsaturated fats can be up to 15% of your daily calories. This is about 25 to 30 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.
    If you're not sure how much fat you should be eating or how many calories you need each day to stay at a healthy weight, talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian who can help you create a plan that's right for you.

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