Low Cholesterol Diet: How to Cut Out the Fat

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Trans Fats
Trans fat, once considered to be a healthy substitute for saturated fat, has been found to raise cholesterol levels and has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, which is a liquid, to create a solid substance. It can be found in foods such as vegetable shortening, some margarines, crackers, candies, baked goods, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, salad dressings and many processed foods. To determine whether a food item you are eating contains trans fat look for the following ingredients on the food label:

  • Shortening
  • hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Unsaturated Fats
Many people assume that because a heart healthy diet recommends limiting fat, that all types of dietary fat are bad for your heart. However, quite the opposite is true. Unsaturated fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats reduce total cholesterol levels while maintaining your HDL levels. The AHA recommends that 10 to 15 percent of our total daily calories come from monounsaturated fats. They can be found in the following vegetable oils:

  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil

Polyunsaturated fats
Polyunsaturated fats also help to reduce total cholesterol levels; however, they also lower your HDL levels. The AHA recommends that we get no more than 10 percent of our total daily calories from polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat is found in nuts and vegetable oils. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include:

  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
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