Fat simple--a nursing tool for client education

Nurs Prax N Z. 2006 Jul;22(2):21-32.


Recent debate about "good fats" and "bad fats" has created uncertainty for nurses and clients as they struggle to make sense of the often contradictory statements in the media. This article summarises the current level of knowledge regarding dietary effects on serum cholesterol and presents the information in an eye catching table that can be used as an educational resource in heart disease prevention education. Information from a literature review was used to design a table that identifies how changes in diet and activity can alter components of a person's lipid profile. Nurses can use the resulting table as a simple tool to give clients targeted education based on their individual cholesterol results. This tool illustrates that not all dietary recommendations to the public are beneficial to serum cholesterol levels and it also explains why popular diets such as the Atkins, Mediterranean, and glycaemic index/load can produce more cardio-protective profiles than the traditional low fat diet. It should provide a way forward in an increasingly contentious area of practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / methods*
  • Dietary Fats* / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Glycemic Index
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / prevention & control*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Teaching Materials*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Loss


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Triglycerides