Face the fats

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: September 15th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Most people know that one important key to a healthy diet is to limit the amount of fat they eat. But not all fats are created equal.

Some fats… like the monounsaturated fat found in avocados or olive oil… are actually good for you when eaten in moderation. But then there’s trans fat and saturated fat, which nutritionists say can raise cholesterol and clog arteries. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated label reader confused.

So now the American Heart Association is stepping in with a new campaign aimed at helping people understand the different types of fat and how to tell what foods they’re in. It’s called “Face the Fats” and is being partly funded by an eight-point-five-million-dollar court settlement with McDonald’s, which was sued in 2003 for allegedly failing to tell the public it hadn’t switched to healthier oils for its French fries.

The centerpiece is a Web-based calculator that tallies how many grams of fat should be consumed per day by people of different ages and activity levels. It can be found at www.americanheart.org/facethefats.

The new tool also gives menu recommendations. For example, it shows that a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant can provide a day’s worth of saturated and trans fat. But remove the cheese, and you can save about one hundred calories and cut unhealthy fats nearly in half.

So learn the facts about fats and make your diet healthier. Your heart will thank you.