By KATHY SMITH
In spite of what you may have heard, not all fat is bad. Although a high-fat diet probably isn’t good for anybody – especially for people with diabetes – fat can still have a place in a healthful menu.
People with diabetes need to be more careful than others in watching their dietary fat intake because diabetes brings an increased risk of heart disease and other medical conditions. However, a few simple steps can help you lower your fat intake:
• When cooking and baking, use oils and fat substitutes instead of lard or shortening.
• Buy leaner cuts of meat and low-fat or no-fat dairy products.
• Trim the visible fats from cuts of meat before cooking.
• When cooking, reduce the amount of fat in a recipe by one-quarter.
• Limit the amount of fat you consume to 30 percent or less of daily calories.
There are four types of fat: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fatty acids. All of these fats contain nine calories per gram. But they affect the body in different ways.
The good news is that monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can help you lower your blood cholesterol if you decrease the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Both of these kinds of fats are liquid at room temperature and can be used in sautéing and frying; polyunsaturated fat can also be used in baking.
Monounsaturated fats are found in olives, olive oil, peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, avocados and some nuts. Polyunsaturated fats are in vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower and soybean oil.
The bad news is that saturated fats are solid at room temperature and when consumed, tend to accumulate in the blood vessels, which restricts blood flow through those vessels. This increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Experts advise that you limit your intake of saturated fats to no more than 10 percent of your total fat intake.