Fat, cholesterol and older Americans

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Fat, cholesterol and older Americans

A blood cholesterol level of 200 mg/dl or less is considered desirable for adults. The relationship of blood cholesterol to the risk for heart disease is less clear in older adults than in middle-aged people. However, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in older Americans, both men and women. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of exercise, heredity and being overweight are other risk factors. If you don’t know what your blood cholesterol level is, as your doctor to check it the next time you go for a visit. Your doctor can help you evaluate your risk and determine whether your cholesterol level is too high.

Many of us eat too much fat. Even if your blood cholesterol level is not high, you may want to make some changes in your food choices to reduce the amount of fat and saturated fat you eat. If you’re like most Americans, 36 percent of your calories come from fat. A diet with 30 percent or less of calories from total fat (and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat) would be healthier. Reducing fat may help you control your weight if necessary. This is important because obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes and also aggravates arthritis by putting added stress on your joints.

Did you know?
Fat is not the same as cholesterol. Some foods contain a lot of cholesterol, but are low in fat, like liver; and some foods have no cholesterol, but are high in fat, like nondairy creamers, vegetable oil or margarine. A food that says “no cholesterol” can still be high in fat. Read the label to see how much and which kinds of fats are included int he product before you buy it.

All types of fat have the same number of calories – both butter and margarine have about 36 calories per teaspoon. Go easy on all fasts and foods made with a lot of fat.

Updated August 22, 2017 7:09pm