Dietary fats in a nutshell

For CVD prevention, the type of dietary fat, but not the total amount of fat, predicts the effect on blood cholesterol levels (see Table 7).

Although following total fat recommendations is an important goal, particular attention should be paid to the quality of dietary fat. Help your patients to improve their blood lipid profile through healthier foods choice (see Table 8).

Table 7: Impact of dietary fats on LDL-cholesterol levels

Dietary fats LDL-cholesterol


Replacing SFA with MUFA

Replacing SFA with PUFA

Table 8: Tips to improve blood lipid profile

Make the smartest food choice

Recognize saturated fats: they originate primarily from animal sources and most of them are visible (butter, visible fat of the meat, lard, bacon, ham, sausages, although some plant sources of fat are also high in saturated fat e.g. coconut oil)

Replace foods containing saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as:
  • oily fish (e.g. mackerel and salmon)
  • nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • seeds (e.g. flaxseeds and pumpkin)
  • vegetable oils and vegetable oil-based spreads and margarines (i.e. sunflower, olive, corn, walnut and rapeseed oils)

Consider food products whose labels claim: “Source of Omega-3 fats” and/or “High in unsaturated fats/PUFA/MUFA”

Reduce fatty cuts of meat (trim visible fat from meat and ham, remove chicken skin) and reduce intake of high-fat dairy products

Prefer healthy methods of cooking

Increase the consumption of foods rich in soluble fibers such as legumes, fruit and vegetables; wholegrains such as oat and barley

Consider to use food with added plant sterols/stanols

Consider healthy dietary patterns

Get physically active