If you want to reduce your weight and stay healthy on a calorie-controlled diet, it's important to choose the healthiest types of fats. The safest, most nutritious types are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The ones to avoid are saturated and trans fats. Excessive or prolonged intake of either of these is a major cause of coronary heart disease.
Check food labels to see if a product fits into your diet plan. It's recommended that saturated fats account for less than 10% of your daily caloric intake. Your intake of trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) should be negligible.
Beginning this year, U.S. manufacturers are required to list both saturated and trans fats separately on food labels. This will help you determine if a food is made with healthy or unhealthy fats.
Restaurants, which are not required to disclose the fat content of their foods, are mostly using partially hydrogenated oils in their deep fryers. It's cheap and readily available, but a major source of trans fats. Of course deep fried foods are not the only ones that should be avoided -- all fried foods are usually laden with fat.
Eating healthier and safer in the New Year will be easier with the new labeling requirements. Now it's up to you to choose the foods that will support your weight loss goals and your health.
Megan Porter, RD