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June 24, 2022 2 min read

This is a personal subject for me (Vikki) because I come from a family with a history of heart disease. I’ve always been proactive about staying active and maintaining a (mostly!) healthy diet. And, thanks to my doctor, I’ve kept a watching brief on things like my cholesterol levels. Fortunately, those have always been good ... yep, bit of a false sense of security setting in there.

So, it was something of a shock to get a wakeup call in January when a routine set of blood tests revealed a spike in LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and I was sent off for a more detailed check-up with the cardiologist. More on that maybe another day but suffice it to say that the reminder has been a very timely one. Fortunately for me, there’s still time to treat this with a focused dose of lifestyle and dietary changes, to reverse some of the bad habits that had crept in during two years of lockdowns.

Five months later – I’m enjoying a healthier, low saturated fat diet and regular exercise – and my LDL is tracking back down again*.

If this story resonates with you, or for someone you love, then here’s some great info that the cardiologist shared with me about how to make the best choices when it comes to choosing healthier fats in your diet.

  • The actual cholesterol in food is not as harmful as saturated fat in the diet. Most cholesterol in the body is made in your own liver using saturated fat from the diet.
  • Saturated fats are found mainly in animal foods such as meat and full fat dairy products. Two vegetable oils, coconut and palm oil are also high in saturated fat. They are often used in commercially baked cakes and biscuits. Saturated fats are bad because they increase LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are good because they lower LDL cholesterol (although they may also reduce HDL cholesterol). Polyunsaturated fats are in sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean, nuts, and fish. Omega-3 polyunsaturated oils are found in some fish and building blocks are found in some other foods. Dietary Omega-3’s are effective in preventing heart disease, even though they do not alter cholesterol levels much. Salmon is particularly high in Omega-3.
  • Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oils, avocados, olives, nuts, and sesame seeds. Monounsaturated fats are good because they decrease LDL cholesterol without much effect on HDL cholesterol.

As our official Chief Cookie Taster, I’m also very happy to add that Wise Cookies are still officially on my approved healthy snack list. Whew! We’ve crafted our recipes to use less saturated fat, in favour of the healthier fats. Getting this balance right is one of the key inputs into the Health Star Rating system and it’s why we challenged ourselves to create a healthier cookie without compromising on texture and flavour.

* Be sure to discuss your own treatment options with a doctor to determine whether more than lifestyle changes are required. Most people can reduce their cholesterol levels 10-20 percent by mindful eating.  However, this may not be enough to reduce risk and medication may be required.