Protecting Your Heart ~ February Facts About Fat!

Love is in the air during the month of February! To protect your heart, you should know that a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight cardiovascular disease and heart disease.

Fats: Clarifying the facts

Our body needs fat to function properly, but too much fat can negatively impact our health.

Harmful fats include the following; you should limit intake of these fats:

  • Saturated fat comes mainly from animal products.  Food sources include beef, poultry, butter, whole milk, cheese and eggs
  • Trans fat comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation.  Look for partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils on food labels.  Food sources for trans fats include certain margarines, shortenings, commercially prepared baked goods and fried foods such as donuts and French fries.

The majority of your fat intake should come from these healthy fats:

  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats derived from vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, peanuts, and avocados
  • Omega-3 fatty acids which are mostly found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts

Food Claims: What do they mean? If labels include the following terms, it means that one serving of the product contains . . .

  • Fat Free – Less than .5 grams of fat
  • Low Fat – 3 grams of fat or less
  • Reduced Fat or Less Fat – At least 25% less fat than the regular product
  • Low in Saturated Fat – 1 gram saturated fat or less, with not more than 15% of the calories coming from saturated fat
  • Lean – Less than 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol
  • Extra Lean – Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol
  • Light –  At least one- third fewer calories or no more than half the fat of the regular product, or no more than half the sodium of the regular product.

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