What kind of foods are bad for my heart?
Foods high in fat, including red meats (beef), lamb, duck, goose, and any type of cold
cuts, including hot dogs. Also, cheddar cheese, butter, whole milk dairy products, and
traditional snacks which are either fried in oil or prepared with oil. Many snacks such as
crackers, cookies, muffins, etc., are high in fat, especially in saturated (bad) fat.
Foods included in the low fat group are chicken, turkey, fresh or frozen fish, and low fat
dairy products. There are multiple commercial products available now which are either
"fat free" or "low fat" which are beneficial in reducing dietary fat.
Besides choosing low-fat foods, increasing soluble fiber is also helpful. Foods such as
oat bran and legumes provide the best source of this. By carefully reading labels, one can
make good decisions in selecting foods. An easy rule of thumb is that calories provided by
fat should be less than one-third of ones total caloric intake, and the amount of
saturated (bad) fat grams should be one-third or less of total fat grams. If it is found
that, through general modifications in diet, high cholesterol levels are not improving, it
may be necessary for your physician to either start you on a cholesterol lowering
medication and/or have you visit with a dietician to assess the need for a specific diet
and exercise program. This evaluation would include a careful analysis of the type of
cholesterol present in the bloodstream and assistance in modifying your dietary habits to
help keep your cholesterol under control on a long-term basis, and determination of
specific activities designed to target your individual problem areas.