|Saturated Fat – less than 7% of total calories
||Diets high in saturated fats are linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease. Saturated fats are thought to have the most potent cholesterol raising potential.
||Fatty cuts of meat, skin on poultry, egg yolks, lard, butter, whole milk dairy products, palm kernel oil, palm oil, coconut oil, desserts and sweets, fried foods and most snack foods and fast foods made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. These fats are generally solid at room temperature.
|Trans Fat - as little as possible
||Trans fatty acids are formed when a liquid fat is turned into a solid one; a process called hydrogenation. Research indicates that trans fat have the same cholesterol-raising effect that saturated fats do. Therefore we recommend keeping your trans fat intake as low as possible.
||To keep your trans fat intake down, limit foods with the following ingredients: partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated oil, stick margarine and shortening. Limit your intake of fried foods, cakes, pies and other foods containing the above. Foods containing trans fat are also solid at room temperature.
|Polyunsaturated Fat – up to 10% of total calories
||Diets moderate in polyunsaturated fats are generally recommended. Substituting polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats will reduce both total and LDL (bad cholesterol) but do have the potential to also lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels when consumed in large amounts. That is why they should be consumed to no more than 10% of total calories each day.
||Margarine, soybean, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and corn oils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, most salad dressings and mayonnaise. These fats stay liquid at room and refrigerator temperatures.
|Monounsaturated Fat – up to 20% of total calories
||Most desirable source of fat in the diet. Substituting monounsaturated fats for saturated fats will reduce both total and LDL cholesterol while sparing the reduction of HDL cholesterol.
||Olive and canola oils, nuts, nut butters and oils (e.g. peanut butter, almond oil), avocados and olives. These fats stay liquid at room temperature but solidify slightly when placed in the refrigerator.
|Total Fat – 25% - 35% of total calories
||All of the fat you consume on a daily basis should not exceed 35% of total calories. Research to date indicates that the lowest incidence of heart disease in many regions and cultures such as the Mediterranean region consume approximately 25%-35% of total fat from calories each day. But keep in mind these diets contain the greatest percentage of fat calories from mono and polyunsaturated fats.
||All of the sources of fat noted above.
|Dietary Cholesterol – less than 200 milligrams each day
||Excesses in dietary cholesterol have been linked to increases in coronary heart disease. Consuming less than 200 milligrams per day is a prudent attempt at lowering your risk.
||Cholesterol comes from two sources – that which your body creates and that which is found in animal products (meat, poultry, fish, egg yolks and dairy contain dietary cholesterol). Choose reduced fat or lean sources of animal products to help reduce your dietary cholesterol intake.
|Carbohydrates – 50% - 60% of total calories
||Carbohydrates are the building blocks of a heart-healthy diet. Choose complex carbohydrates (instead of refined ones with white flour) to get the maximum nutritional benefit from these foods.
||Whole grain or oat based breads, crackers, pastas and cereals, other whole wheat/grain based flour products; brown or wild rice; couscous, quinoa, barley, buckwheat; lentils, split peas and beans; fruits and vegetables.
|Fiber – 20-30 grams per day
||Dietary fiber, specifically the viscous (soluble) form, is associated with a decrease in cholesterol and contributes to a host of other health benefits.
||All of the above complex carbohydrate food sources. Aim for a minimum of 10 or more grams of viscous (soluble) fiber each day by increasing oats, barley, lentils, split peas, beans, fruits and vegetables. Aim for 8 or more servings from fruits and vegetables daily, eat legumes like beans or lentils at least 3 times a week and choose only unrefined flour based products.
|Protein – Approximately 20% of total calories
||Dietary protein can come from both plant and animal sources and is an essential nutrient to good health. The problem is, many protein sources (especially animal sources) contain a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol so choose your protein sources wisely.
||Major sources of protein in the diet: beef, veal, pork, fish, chicken, legumes like lentils and beans, dairy products, nuts, seeds and soy foods.
|Total Calories – balance energy intake with output to achieve or maintain a desirable body weight
||Excessive calories, regardless of the source, results in weight gain. Excessive weight gain over time can result in obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, joint problems and a host of other debilitating diseases including heart disease.
||Aim to consume 4-6 small meals and snacks daily. Avoid skipping meals and eating late at night for optimal weight maintenance.
|Margarine enriched plant sterol/stanol esters
||Plant sterols are substances naturally occurring in plants. They are similar in structure to the cholesterol molecule and when ingested, inhibit the cholesterol molecule from being absorbed in the small intestine, resulting in a net decrease in overall cholesterol.
||The NCEP recommend incorporating margarine enriched with stanols as an enhancement to therapy prescribed by your physician, NOT as a replacement for diet, lifestyle change or prescribed lipid-lowering medications. Currently, two stanols are available on the market- Benecol® and Take Control©.