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Eating Tips: Fats, Salt, and Sugar

for Veterans and the Public

Go easy on fatty, salty, and sugary foods

Fatty foods

Fats and oils are used to store energy in the body, protect body tissues, and transport vitamins through the blood. Some fats are better for you than others.

"Good" fats can be found in nuts and seeds, flax seed, olive oil, and fish oils.

"Bad" fats are found mostly in animal sources such as meat and poultry, whole or reduced-fat milk, and butter. They also are present as "trans" fats in fried foods, fast foods, and some processed products, such as cookies and crackers.

All fats, whether good or bad, contain calories and can add unwanted pounds if you eat too much.

Salty foods

If you are like most people in the United States, you already eat too much sodium (salt). Most salt in the diet comes from processed foods, such as crackers, chips, and canned soups.

If you need a lower sodium diet, you will need to read food labels to know which foods are the best choices. Learn how to read a food labelLink will take you outside the VA website..

Sugary foods

Sugar goes by many names: sucrose, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, and fructose. Sugary foods tend to offer little more than calories. Many of them (such as pastries and desserts) tend to be high in fat, too.

There is nothing wrong with having sugary foods now and then. But if you fill up on sweets, you won't have room for foods that are better for your health.