- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Fat grams: How to track your dietary fat
- Yerba mate: Is it safe to drink?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- What is BPA? Should I be worried about it?
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- Sea salt vs. table salt: What's the difference?
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (18)
- Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
- Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?
- Chocolate: Does it impair calcium absorption?
- see all in Nutritional supplements
MUFAs: Why should my diet include these fats?
What are MUFAs, and should I include them in my diet?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
MUFAs are monounsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs are considered a healthy type of fat. If your diet includes unsaturated fats such as MUFAs (and polyunsaturated fats) instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits.
Consuming monounsaturated fatty acids may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving risk factors. For instance, MUFAs may lower your total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels but maintain or increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
MUFAs are a central part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. But even if you don't follow a Mediterranean-style diet, you can include more of these MUFA-rich foods in your diet:
- Canola oil
- Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pecans and macadamias
- Nut butters
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
Just don't go overboard. All fats, including MUFAs, are high in calories, so use MUFAs only in moderation. Consume MUFA-rich foods instead of other fatty foods, not in addition to them. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that fat make up no more than 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories.Next question
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Is it harmful?
- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 12th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Higher Education; 2011.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- White B. Dietary fatty acids. American Family Physician. 2009;80:345.
- Paniagua J, et al. A MUFA-rich diet improves postprandial glucose, lipid and GLP-1 responses in insulin-resistant subjects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2007;26:434.
- Lecerf JM. Fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Reviews. 2009;67:273.
- Gillman MW. Dietary fat. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.