Dietary fats in a nutshell

For CVD prevention, the type of dietary fat, but not the total amount of fat, predicts their effects on blood cholesterol levels (see Table 7).

Although following total fat recommendations is an important goal, particular attention should be paid to the quality of dietary fat. Help your patients to improve their blood lipid profile through healthier foods choice (see Table 8).

Table 7: Impact of dietary fats on LDL-cholesterol levels
Dietary fats LDL-cholesterol
Replacing SAFA with MUFA
Replacing SAFA with PUFA
Table 8: Tips to improve blood lipid profile
Make the smartest food choice
Recognize saturated fats: they originate primarily from animal sources and most of them are visible (butter, visible fat of the meat, lard, bacon, ham, sausages…)
Replace foods containing saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as:
  • oily fish (e.g. mackerel and salmon)
  • nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • seeds (e.g. flaxseeds and pumpkin)
  • vegetable oils and vegetable oil-based spreads and margarines (i.e. sunflower, olive, corn, walnut and rapeseed oils)
Consider food products whose labels claim: “Source of Omega-3 fats” and/or “High in unsaturated fats/PUFA/MUFA”
Reduce fatty cuts of meat (trim visible fat from meat and ham; take the skin off from chicken), as well as high-fat dairy products intake
Prefer healthy methods of cooking
Increase the consumption of foods rich in soluble fibers such as legumes, fruit and vegetables; wholegrains such as oat and barley
Consider to use food with added plant-sterols/stanols
Consider healthy dietary patterns
Get physically active