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Experts Sort Out Good Fats From Bad

New guide helps consumers make healthier food choices

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. and Canadian experts have teamed up to create Dietary Fatty Acids, a comprehensive recommendation on how much of what types of fats people should include -- or avoid -- in their diets.

Both the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada agree that the body needs some fat and that 20 percent to 30 percent of energy needs should be met by dietary fat. The key question is which kind of fats are most healthy.

"Of greatest importance is the type of fat one chooses," registered dietitian and co-author Penny Kris-Etherton said in a prepared statement. "The healthiest choices are unsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and omega-3 unsaturated fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and shellfish."

She warned against saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in tropical oils, fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. Trans fats are found in commercial baked goods, crackers and high-fat snack foods. Consumers should read nutrition labels to find out what kinds of fats are in the foods they buy, said Kris-Etherton.

The Dietary Fatty Acids recommendations guide people to follow a food-based approach for achieving the following fatty acid recommendations:

  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Eat lean protein such as meats, poultry and low-fat dairy products.
  • Eat fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon.
  • Use non-hydrogenated margarines and oils.

More information

For a consumer-friendly fact sheet on dietary fats, visit the Dietitians of Canada.

-- Madeline Vann

SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, news release, Sept. 3, 2007

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