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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
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Foods like cheese, butter, sausage, and desserts may taste good to you, but they can have a lot of saturated fat. Eating too much of this unhealthy fat could lead to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Start with small changes first. Use heart-healthy olive or canola oil instead of butter for cooking. Drink fat-free or low-fat milk instead of 2% milk or whole milk. Pick leaner cuts of meat.
Use this topic as a guide for making healthy choices.
Use the following chart as a guide.
Limit foods that are high in unhealthy fats
Make healthier choices
Meat, poultry, and fish
Regular ground beef, fatty or highly marbled cuts, spare ribs, organ meat, poultry with skin, fried chicken, fried fish, fried shellfish, lunch meat, bologna, salami, sausage, hot dogs
Extra-lean ground beef (97% lean), ground turkey breast (without skin added), meats with fat trimmed off before cooking, skinless chicken, low-fat or fat-free lunch meats, baked fish
Whole milk and 2% milk; whole-milk yogurt, most cheeses, and cream cheese; whole-milk cottage cheese, sour cream, and ice cream; cream; half-and-half; whipping cream; nondairy creamer; whipped topping
Low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and cheeses, low-fat or nonfat yogurt
Fats and oils
Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, lard, shortening, bacon and bacon fat, stick margarine, peanut butter that has been hydrogenated (the no-stir kind)
Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, soft margarines with no trans fats and no more than one-third of the total fat from saturated fat, natural peanut butter that has not been hydrogenated
Breads and cereals
Breads in which fat or butter is a major ingredient; most granolas (unless fat-free or low-fat); high-fat crackers; store-bought pastries and muffins
Regular breads, cereals, rice, corn tortillas, pasta, and low-fat crackers. Choose whole grains as much as possible.
Fruits and vegetables
Fried vegetables; coconut; vegetables cooked with butter, cheese, or cream sauce
All fruits and vegetables that do not have added fat
Sweets and desserts
Ice cream; store-bought pies, cakes, doughnuts, and cookies made with coconut oil, palm oil, or hydrogenated oil; chocolate candy
Fruit; frozen yogurt; low-fat or nonfat versions of treats such as ice cream; cakes and cookies made with unsaturated fats and/or those made with cocoa powder
Try some of these ideas:
If you eat out often, it may be hard to avoid unhealthy fats. Try these tips:
Sometimes a fat-free food isn't the best choice. Fat-free cookies, candies, chips, and frozen treats can still be high in sugar and calories. Some fat-free foods have more calories than regular ones. Eat fat-free foods in moderation, as you would other foods.
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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