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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Understanding Dietary FatLa grasa en la dieta alimenticia

Understanding Dietary Fat

There are different kinds of fats in the foods you eat. Fats can be saturated or unsaturated. Planning meals that are low in saturated fat helps reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to blocked arteries. To prevent heart problems, keep your cholesterol levels in healthy ranges. A healthy goal is to have less than 30% of your daily calories come from fat. Instead of fats, eat more fruits, grains, and vegetables. and when you do use fat, choose unsaturated fats.

Limit Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are fats that come from animals and certain plants (such as coconut and palm). Eating saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol level and increase your artery problems. Your goal is to eat less saturated fat. Below are some examples of foods that contain lots of saturated fat:

  • Fatty cuts of meat (lamb, ham, beef)

  • Cookies and cakes

  • Cream, ice cream, sour cream, cheese, butter

  • Desserts with butter and cream

  • Sauces with butter and cream

  • Salad dressings with saturated fats

  • Foods that contain palm or coconut oil

Limit Trans Fat

Like saturated fat, trans fat is linked to heart disease. Trans fat is found in unsaturated fats that have been modified to be solid at room temperature. Margarine, which is often made from vegetable oil, is a good example. Trans fat is often found in cookies, pastry, and other products. Check food labels for trans fat. Also look on the ingredients list for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Choose Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature. They are better choices than saturated fats. In fact, in moderate amounts unsaturated fat can be good for your heart. There are two types of unsaturated fats:

  • Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and other vegetable oils.

  • Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Some margarines and spreads are now made with these oils, too. Of all fats, monounsaturated fats are the least harmful to your heart.

Publication Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Online Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2006-01-01T00:00:00-07:00

Jay L. Jordan, MD, is an experienced cardiologist and internal medicine physician who provides a comprehensive range of cardiac care services in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Calabasas and nearby communities. Take the first step in preventing and controlling heart disease with symptoms such as angina, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, carotid artery disease, chest pain, congestive heart failure, coronary vascular disease, hypertension, palpitations, shortness of breath and stroke. Call Dr. Jay L. Jordan at 310-854-5493 or request an appointment online.

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