Animation Movie Available Related Media: Managing High Cholesterol: Cooking Healthy Meals

Fat gets a bad rap, mostly for its association with weight gain and heart disease. However, fats are an important part of a balanced diet. Our bodies need fat for warmth, protection, and to carry out vital functions.

The fats we eat effect the amount and type of cholesterol in our blood. There are 3 major types of cholesterol in the body, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides. High levels of LDLs (known as bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are a major risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), which leads to heart attack or stroke. However, high levels of HDLs (known as good cholesterol) reduce the risk of CAD.

The trick is to know which fats are good and which are bad and create a balanced diet with this knowledge. Dietary choices can be confusing but some simple fat facts below may help.