The Importance of Targeting Saturated Fat

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) Diet is often recommended for people who need to lower their cholesterol levels. Here I look at one of its main recommendations: cutting saturated fat, the enemy of healthy cholesterol levels.

We need to take a critical look at the scientific basis as well as effectiveness of the TLC Diet for lowering elevated cholesterol. The TLC Diet consists of three recommendations:

1. Reduce saturated fat to less than seven percent of calories and cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams (mg) a day.

2. Consider increased viscous (soluble) fiber to between 10 and 25 grams (g) a day.

3. Consider adding plant stanols/sterols: two grams a day.

The three major sources of saturated fat in the American diet include:

1. Red meats, meat dishes and poultry

2. Pastries, cakes and biscuits

3. Dairy products, including ice cream, cheese, and butter

In order to reduce the amount of saturated in your diet, you need to substitute the usual dairy products with low-fat or reduced fat products, eat more lean meats and poultry, and cut down on eating too many pastries, cakes or biscuits.

Over the last 60 years, there has been extensive research on how the effects of dietary fat influence serum total, HDL (good), and LDL (bad) cholesterol The key findings include the following:

— Saturated fats definitely raise total and LDL cholesterol

— Polyunsaturated fats reduce total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol

— Monounsaturated fats have little effect on total and LDL cholesterol, but increase HDL cholesterol

— Trans fatty acids increase total and LDL cholesterol and reduce HDL cholesterol.

— When trans fats reduce HDL cholesterol levels, it is more harmful to your heart than saturated fats

To discover a food that has saturated fat, but could be the secret to actually lowering your bad cholesterol, read the article, The Cholesterol-Lowering Treat.