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.
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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