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Confused about fat?

Published on December 01, 2015

Confused about fat?

Diane Giambruno, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

You don't have to be confused about fat.There are many mixed messages about the role of fat in your diet, but you don’t have to remain confused.

Fats to Favor

These fats are thought to be heart healthy.

Monounsaturated Fats

  • May help reduce LDL & raise HDL
  • Food sources: Canola and olive oil, Smude’s sunflower oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • May help reduce triglycerides, thin the blood, and reduce inflammation.
  • Food sources:  Deep sea fish (wild salmon, mackerel), walnuts and flaxseed.
  • Please check with your doctor before taking fish oil capsules which contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fats to Avoid

These fats are associated with increased risk of heart disease and tend to raise blood cholesterol levels.

Saturated Fats (8-11 g/day)

  • Raise LDL cholesterol and increase inflammation.
  • Food sources: Animal fats found in meat (sausage, fatty meats, bacon), dairy foods (whole milk, ice cream, cheese, butter), and tropical oils (coconut and palm oil).

Trans Fatty Acids (0 g/day)

  • Raise cholesterol & lower HDL
  • Food sources: Partially hydrogenated fats which are found primarily in processed foods (chips, crackers, snack foods, stick margarines). Look for tub margarines that are trans fat free and contain no partially hydrogenated fats.


  • Affects blood cholesterol less than saturated and trans fat
  • Food sources: found only in animal foods (organ meats, meat, eggs and cheese).

Health information accessed through is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Diane Giambruno, RDDiane Giambruno
Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

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