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The Skinny on Fats


Did you know fats are an essential nutrient and should be included in a heart-smart diet? Just be mindful of the type of fat you're eating and be sure to balance the calories you’re eating with the calories that you're burning. This will help you maintain or achieve a weight that's healthy for you. When choosing which fats to eat as part of a heart-smart diet, choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in:

  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, nut butters)
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
  • Heart-smart vegetable oils (olive, canola, soybean, safflower)
  • Creamy and delicious avocados

When choosing fats, limit saturated fat (found in fatty meats, butter and high fat dairy) and trans-fatty acids (found in some fast food, bakery and processed foods) which can raise LDL (or "lousy") blood cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.

Also, if you’re wondering how much fat you should be eating on a daily basis, here’s your guide. The American Heart Association® makes these recommendations for healthy individuals over age 2.


What is my daily limit?

Total Fat

25-35% of your total calories

Saturated Fat

Less than 7% of your total calories

Trans Fat

Less than 1% of your total calories


Less than 300mg for most people; less than 200mg if you have heart disease or your LDL level is 100mg/dL or greater