Most food has some fat in it. Your body needs some fat to be healthy. But some kinds of fats are healthier than others.
In a low-fat eating plan, you try to choose healthier fats and eat fewer unhealthy fats. Healthy fats include olive and canola oil. Try to avoid eating too much saturated fat (such as in cheese and meats) and trans fat (a type of fat found in many packaged snack foods and other baked goods).
You do not need to cut all fat from your diet. But you can make healthier choices about the types and amount of fat you eat.
Even though it is a good idea to choose healthier fats, it is still important to be careful of how much fat you eat, because all fats are high in calories.
Eating foods that contain saturated fats can raise the LDL ("bad") cholesterol in your blood. Having a high level of LDL cholesterol increases your chance of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to coronary artery disease and heart attack.
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.
Include only about 2 to 3 tablespoons of unsaturated fat each day. Be sure to count any oils used in cooking, dressings, margarines, mayonnaise, or other foods with fat.
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 a registered dietitian. He or she can help you create a plan that's right for you.
Foods like cheese, butter, sausage, and desserts can have a lot of unhealthy fats. Try these tips for healthier meals at home and when you eat out.
When eating out at a restaurant
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter W495 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Low-Fat Eating".
Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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