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Common Myths About Cholesterol, Foods and Fats

Here, we set the facts straight regarding popular myths about heart health.

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MythAll dietary fats are essentially the same. 

Fact: There are different kinds of fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol while saturated and trans fat are more closely associated with increasing your LDL cholesterol. Examples of foods containing each variety include:

  • Monosaturated: olive oil, peanut butter and avocados.
  • Polyunsaturated: salmon, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils such as corn, soybean and safflower.
  • Saturated: fatty red meats, bacon, real butter, and tropical oils such as palm oil and coconut oil.
  • Trans fat: fast food French fries, and many commercially packaged foods such as donuts, crackers and cookies. Found in anything containing “partially hydrogenated oils”.  Even if the label claims zero trans fats, the serving is still allowed to have 0.5 grams of trans fats.

Myth: Products that are labeled “low fat” are generally also low calorie options.  

Fact: Some food manufacturers replace the fat with other ingredients that may have just as many calories.

MythOlive oil has fewer calories than other types of oils.

Fact: All fats—including olive oil—contain 9 calories per gram.

MythFoods labeled “trans fat free” are usually healthy options.

Fact: Food manufacturers may replace trans fat with saturated fat, which can also raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. By law, food manufacturers are still allowed to include .5 grams of trans fats per serving even if the food is labeled ‘zero’.

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