Did you know?

About 950,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each year, which amounts to one death every 33 seconds.

Although heart disease and stroke are often thought to affect men and older people primarily, it is also a major killer of women and people in the prime of life.

About 61 million Americans (almost one-fourth of the population) have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of premature, permanent disability among working adults.

Stroke alone accounts for the disability of more than 1 million Americans.

Almost 6 million hospitalizations each year are due to cardiovascular disease.

In the US 60% of the population has a weight problem.

“Morbidly Obese” is clinically defined as being 100 pounds or more overweight. In our population, the number of people being morbidly obese is increasing year after year.

Who is to blame?

On every corner there are fast food billboards and everywhere you turn there is an advertisement for fast food. The amount and length of the ads seem to be increasing also.

On of the first steps we can take to reverse this scenario is to control our fat intake.  But what is fat?  Is all fat bad?

Taking control of just this single area of your overall health will substantially reduce your chances of heart disease as well as reducing the risk of stroke.  Stroke occurs when blood clots block arteries that supply blood to the brain. 

French researchers examined 250 men and women age 60 to 70 and found that those who had fatty plaque narrowing the main artery out of the heart were 9 times more likely to have a stroke than those who did not have this buildup.

Cancer is another possible by-product of excess fat in the diet.  In fact dietary fat is credited with playing a role in as much as 40% of cancers in men and 60% of cancers in women.  Read meat is considered to be one of the biggest culprits, increasing the instance of colon, rectal and prostate cancer in men.  For women the results are colon and possibly breast cancer.  And, researchers are now beginning to believe it may play a role in lung cancer as well.

So why do we still eat it?  Believe it or not, many of us just haven’t gotten the word yet, especially those over 60.  Even though the information about fat has been around for a long time, many people believe that fat is a necessary part of diet. 

Yes, it is true that dietary fat exists for a reason.  It does provide us with the fatty acids we need to control our body temperature, give us healthy skin and hair and protect nerves and our vital organs. 

The problem is that not all fats are created equal and many of us just don’t understand the difference.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and polyunsaturated fats like corn and safflower oils are considered somewhat healthy when taken in moderation.

Saturated fats that we find predominantly in meat, eggs and dairy products are attributed with causing major health problems especially when consumed in large amounts.

Trans-fatty acids are another type of harmful fat.  These are unsaturated fats that food manufacturers use to solidify certain foods like margarine and vegetable shortening.  In addition to being harmful they have no dietary value at all.

Switching to a low-fat style of eating mostly unsaturated fats you may very well quickly feel rejuvenated regardless of your age.  No matter what your age or medical conditions might be, diabetes, high cholesterol, gout or heart disease a low-fat diet is the way to go.

Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily calories and cut back on the fatty acids and the benefits will increase life expectancy.