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The American Heart Association Diet

The following are the dietary guidelines put forth by the American Heart Association. They are designed to prevent heart attacks, stroke, and other manifestations of cardiovascular disease from occurring in healthy adults.

1. Total fat intake should be less than 30 percent of daily calories.

2. Saturated fat intake should be less than ten percent of daily calories.

3. Polyunsaturated fat intake should not exceed ten percent of daily calories.

4. Cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 milligrams per day.

5. Carbohydrate intake should constitute 50 percent or more of daily calories, with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates.

6. Protein intake should provide the remainder of the calories.

7. Sodium intake should not exceed three grams (3,000 milligrams) per day.

8. Alcohol consumption should not exceed one to two ounces of ethanol per day. Two ounces of 100-proof whisky, 8 ounces of wine, and 24 ounces of beer each contain 1 ounce of ethanol.

9. Total calories should be sufficient to maintain the individual's recommended body weight, as defined by the Metropolitan Tables of Height and Weight (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, 1959).

10. A wide variety of foods should be consumed.

Heart Smart Glossary

The following are definitions of terms commonly used in discussions of cholesterol and cardiovascular health:

LDL: Low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol often implicated in the development of atherosclerosis

HDL: High-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol thought to protect against atherosclerosis

Triglycerides: Another type of fatty acid found in the blood that doctors measure when they evaluate heart-disease risk

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