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Where does fat fit into a diabetes meal plan?

Foods have a combination of different fats and cholesterol, including unsaturated fat, saturated fat and trans fats. A general rule is to limit or avoid the so-called "bad" fats, which include saturated and trans fats, that are known to carry health risks. Over time, these fats can partially or totally block blood vessels to your heart. This is especially concerning for people with diabetes who have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Although your body needs fat to survive, not all fats are created equal. When you can, stick with "good" fats—the unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids—that offer a great source of energizing fuel.

Think about the types of fat you use on your food. This includes what you use for cooking and the spreads or dressings you add at the table too. Liquid oils like canola and olive oil are healthier than using butter, shortening or margarine. Remember to keep your portions small—about a teaspoon. Fats can add a lot of calories leading to weight gain.

If you have diabetes, try to stick to less than 7% of your calories as saturated fat. If you know how many calories you eat, you can use the information on labels to help you stick to your total amount of saturated fat for the day.

As always, ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for help understanding these numbers and tailoring goals that are right for you.

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it's crucial to monitor the types of fat you consume. Try to limit your total fat intake to less than 35 percent of your total caloric intake. But, more important, concentrate on the types of fat you eat.

Focus on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as found in olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocado and fish (particularly oily fish like salmon, trout and tuna).

Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as beef, pork, lamb and high-fat dairy products (whole milk, cheeses and whole-fat yogurt). Also try to avoid trans fatty acids often found in some packaged snack foods, commercially baked goods, fast food and some margarines.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.