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Going Nuts Over Peanut Butter continued...

Some concerns have been raised in the past that oils added to commercial peanut butters during production process may create unhealthy levels of trans fats. But recent studies have shown that most commercial peanut butters contain negligible levels of these potentially dangerous fats, and commercial and all-natural brands are pretty much equal when it comes to nutrition.

"My feeling as a nutritionist is that the major sources of damaging trans fats in your diet are going to be commercial cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and deep-fried foods, not peanut butter," says Carter.

Peanut butter is also a high-calorie food, so eating spoon after spoon of it isn't recommended -- two tablespoons is plenty. But nuts and nut butters such as peanut butter are rich sources of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish and vegetable oils.

They're also a good source of a variety of nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E, which have the ability to protect the heart.

Eggs: Edible and Economical

Eggs have suffered from a serious image problem that began in the 1970s when they were vilified for their high cholesterol content. But now that researchers' understanding of heart disease and cholesterol's role in it has changed, so has their opinion of the egg.

"At that time, we thought cholesterol was the only issue, but we now know that there is good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, good fats, and bad fats," says Carter. "Eggs aren't as damaging to the cardiovascular system as once thought."

"What eggs have going for them is they are an inexpensive, high-quality source of protein," says Carter.

However, eggs, more specifically egg yolks, do still contain a significant amount of cholesterol.

Lichtenstein says that whether or not someone can fit eggs into their diet really depends on what else they're eating.

"If they are not consuming a lot of animal fat either from dairy or meat sources, then they can certainly include an egg a day in their diet," Lichtenstein tells WebMD.

If you are eating a considerable amount of cholesterol-laden animal fat, then it's good idea to limit eggs, take the yolk out and use the whites only, or use an egg substitute.

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