• How to Limit Unhealthy Fats & Cholesterol


    One of the most important dietary changes you can make for your heart health is to limit foods containing saturated fat and trans-fat. These fats are usually solid at room temperature, like meat fat, butter or margarine.

    Should heart patients eat red meat? Watch as Dr. Lyndon Box answers this common question.

    Of all the fats, saturated fat increases “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol the most, and this increases risk of heart disease by promoting atherosclerosis (clogging of your arteries). Trans- fat not only increases “bad” LDL cholesterol, but it also decreases “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Cholesterol in foods doesn’t affect your blood cholesterol as much as saturated fat does, but it should also be limited according to the American Heart Association.  

    The American Heart Association recommends:

    Saturated Fat

    Less than 7 percent of total calories per day 
    (Ex:  less than 14 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet)


    Less than 1 percent of total calories per day
    (Ex: less than 2 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet)


    Less than 200 in individuals with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol or those taking cholesterol-lowering medication

    Tips for Limiting Unhealthy Fats & Cholesterol

    Foods that contain saturated fat usually have trans-fat and/or cholesterol. Try these easy ways to limit unhealthy fat and cholesterol:
    • Limit solid fats such as meat fat, vegetable shortening, butter and stick margarines. Tub margarines or spray margarines are less solid and are better choices since they generally have less saturated fat and trans-fat.
    • Limit high-fat cuts of meat, such as Prime rib, brisket and ground beef.
    • Limit processed meats (such as sausage, pepperoni and lunch meat) to no more than 2 servings per week. 
    • Choose leaner cuts of meat, such as tenderloin (filet mignon), sirloin and pork loin. Or choose white-meat chicken and turkey.
    • Trim visible fat from meat whenever possible.
    • Switch from high-fat dairy products to nonfat or low fat (1 percent).
    • Limit egg yolks; switch to egg whites or egg substitutes.
    • Limit fast food, especially fried foods and convenience foods.
    • Limit commercially prepared baked goods like cakes, pies, cookies, etc.