Researchers are confirming that it is not as simple as saturated fat equals increased risk for heart disease. In a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less.

What is a consumer to do?

For many years top health organizations have been touting the detrimental effects of a diet rich in saturated fat and its tie to increased risk for heart disease. In addition, claims have been made that a diet rich in unsaturated fats is protective. And now the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says the opposite. What is a consumer to do?

Certainly the overall nutrient composition of the typical American diet is not serving us well to prevent overweight and obesity, Diabetes or Heart Disease. The overall health of our diet is increasing risk for disease and it doesn't come down so specifically to dietary fat. But there are choices that you can make each day that will help promote good health as well as protect against heart disease.

Choosing the best fats for healthy eating

The research continues to support that focusing solely on saturated fat is not showing the great reduction in heart disease as was once hoped. Focusing on choosing fats known to be protective rather than focusing on what to avoid may be more productive in the continued quest for a healthy diet.

1. Choose foods rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory protecting your heart as well as preventing inflammation in other areas of your body and even slowing the processes of aging.

• Wild caught salmon

• Light tuna

• Mackerel

• Herring

• Sardines

• Ground flaxseed

• Walnuts

• Omega-3 enriched foods (dairy, eggs)

• Grass fed beef

2. Choose monounsaturated fats. These fats may lower your total and LDL-cholesterol while maintaining a high HDL cholesterol. In addition, monounsaturated fats may help normalize blood clotting and may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.

• Olive oil

• Canola oil

• Avocado

• Nuts and seeds

3. Eat real food, not worrying so much about the source of its fat. Shop in the outer ring of the grocery store or at your local farmer's market choosing lean meats, fresh produce and simple sources of dairy.

Aiming for variety in your diet

Balance, variety and moderation - 3 of the components of a healthy diet. When you eat a varied diet you will be likely to get a broader range of nutrients and less concentration of one component that may be damaging.

There are and will continue to be trends in the food industry. When one specific food or nutrient is shown to have benefits, the market explodes with new products. Does that mean we should eat that food at every meal? Of course not. That will naturally take out the variety that is providing us other nutrients we need as well.

I encourage you to worry less about one specific nutrient and rather - eat real food, with a good amount of variety, but not too much.

Author's Bio: 

Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints. For FREE tips on how to lose weight and keep it off, visit