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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Be wary of saturated fats in your diet: red meats, dairy and eggs

I have a friend who likes to promote dairy products, red meats and eggs. This friend has no fear of cholesterol nor saturated fat. It's not my approach and it's not the one promoted by my heart doctors.

Recently, I read this article from the Harvard Medical School: The truth about fats: the good, the bad and the in-between. The piece argued:

A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body. For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day.

And where do we encounter saturated fats? Harvard tells us:

Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.

When working to reduce the amount of saturated fat in one's diet, one must not replace the lost calories with increased consumption of refined carbohydrates: for instance, white sugar. Instead, keep two alternative fats in mind: mono-saturated and poly-saturated.

For mono-saturated fats, look to: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.

For poly-saturated, think: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.

Note the word unhydrogenated. Hydrogenation creates trans-fats and these are the worst offenders. One must take every measure to get trans-fats out of one's diet.

If you read this post, you are clearly seeking information on diet. Keep googling, keep an open mind but be wary of any diet that makes extreme claims or promotes the consumption of saturated fats.

(Note: both photos show actual dinners I have served recently. Before dining, I take a moment to grab a photo illuminated by the large window beside our dinner table.