Georgia Pecans, Fat and Cholesterol
Q: Does the fat found in pecans fit in with heart-healthy eating recommendations as well as those from the new Food Pyramid?
A: Absolutely. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines, on which the Food Pyramid is based, were designed with your overall good health in mind.
They recommend that you keep your total cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day and your fat intake to 20% to 35% of calories, with most fats coming from foods rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
That makes pecans an especially good choice, since they are cholesterol-free and more than 90% of the fat they contain is unsaturated. Pecans are particularly rich in oleic acid, the heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid found in large amounts in olive oil.
Studies have shown that people who regularly eat pecans, have lower LDL cholesterol levels, the “bad” cholesterol found in the blood that’s linked to heart disease. And one study found eating pecans also helped lower triglycerides, another type of fat linked to increased risk of heart disease, as well as increased levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol found in the blood, linked to a decreased heart disease risk.