Fat in Food: Good, Bad and Bizarre Fatty Foods

Cheese on Pizza
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There is a popular movie called "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and we could apply the same adjectives to fat in food. From healthy fats to bad fats, read on to learn what to taste - and what to trash.

Cheese

Beware of cheese added to food, warns nutrition expert Jayne Hurley. It can boost the calorie count and the saturated fat in your diet dramatically and dangerously.

As an example, consider a product called Good Tastes Brie and Fig Mac & Cheese. One cup of his gourmet mac and cheese dish contains more than 600 calories and a scary 16 grams of saturated fat.

However, adds Jayne, you can find lighter choices of cheese on their own. Look for ones with labels that say "reduced fat" or "light." She recommends cheeses that have no more than 3 grams of saturated fat per ounce, instead of the 5 to 6 grams (a quarter of a day’s worth) in a full-fat cheese.

Seafood

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If you've banned fats from your diet, it's time to be turned onto the benefits of healthy fats in the form of omega-3s, says diet expert Bonnie Liebman. "Each gram of EPA plus DHA can lower triglycerides by 5 to 10 percent. Here’s the EPA plus DHA in 4 ounces of cooked seafood," she explains.

Which choices are best? Use the list below to help you shop smart:

  • Salmon, Atlantic (farmed)—2.4g
  • Herring, Atlantic (pickled)—1.6g
  • Sardines (canned in tomato sauce)—1.6g
  • Salmon, coho—1.5g
  • Halibut, Greenland—1.3g
  • Salmon, pink or red (canned)—1.2g
  • Sardines (canned in oil)—1.1g
  • Trout, rainbow (wild)—1.1g
  • Trout, rainbow (farmed)—1.0g
  • Tuna, white (canned in water)—1.0g
  • Salmon, sockeye—0.9g
  • Crabs—0.5g
  • Halibut, Atlantic or Pacific—0.3g
  • Shrimp—0.3g
  • Tuna, light (canned in water)—0.3g
  • Tuna, white (canned in oil)—0.3g

Coffee Creamers

Millions of us drink coffee every day, adding cream in various forms (powdered, liquid) without thinking about it. But before you doctor up your coffee again, it's time to be aware of just what's in that cream, says Jayne Hurley. Here's what you should know:

Dairy: Choose fat-free half and half, says Jayne, such as Land O’Lakes. Because it's primarily skim milk and cream, it's equal to two percent milk.

Soy or coconut milk: Be careful. Jayne recommends So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer, with 10 calories and .2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.

Liquids or powders like Coffee-mate: "They’re made with partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil," warns Jayne. And the ingredient list is so long and scary that she recommends they call themselves "sugar and oil creamers!"

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