Fat Tips for Heart Health

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Yesterday, I explained the Food and Drug Administration’s new labeling requirements on trans fats, which became effective Jan. 1. As you settle into your organic lifestyle routines during this first week of 2006—and assuming your New Year’s resolutions are not yet in need of resuscitation—here are some additional tips on reducing your consumption of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol to prevent heart disease.

Read the “Nutrition Facts” Panel on Grocery Items—Even the Organic Kind

Choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. For saturated fat and cholesterol, keep in mind when reading labels that 5% of the daily value (%DV) or less is low and 20% or more is high. (There is no %DV for trans fat.)

Choose Alternative Fats

Replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which don’t raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (“bad” cholesterol) and have health benefits when eaten in moderation. Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils. Sources of polyunsaturated fats include soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and foods like nuts and fish. Avoid saturated fats like coconut and palm kernel oils.

Bond with Your Waiter

When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask which fats are being used in food preparation.

The FDA is conducting research to determine whether a footnote on Nutrition Facts panels, featuring dietary advice on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol consumption, would be helpful to consumers as they monitor their diets.

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