Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat that can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels. Not all fats are the same. Saturated fat is found in foods such as pork, lard, lamb, beef, poultry skin, shortening, whole milk, and butter. Saturated fats can also be found in coconut oil and palm oil. These solid fats are high in unhealthy saturated fats. It can cause unhealthy cholesterol levels in your body.
Research studies show that certain types of fat may increase LDL levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK570127 Excess amounts of saturated fats may increase the level of LDL cholesterol. Keeping your LDL cholesterol at a normal level is important, and this can be done by controlling the type and amount of fat you eat.
What is LDL cholesterol? https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/24391-ldl-cholesterol
You may have heard of the Mediterranean diet, a diet rich in fat. Research shows that people living in the Mediterranean have a low risk of heart disease and the incidence of it is lower than those living in the US. This may be due to the type of fat consumed. Read more about the Mediterranean Diet. https://www.eatright.org/food/cultural-cuisines-and-traditions/european/make-it-mediterranean
The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends limiting the intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of your total energy intake per day to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, for those aged 2 years or older. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials This may be done by replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fats.
Examples of polyunsaturated fat include soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/polyunsaturated-fats
Examples of monounsaturated fat include canola oil, olive oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, avocados, and some nuts and seeds. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats
While saturated fats cannot be completely cut out of your diet, they can be limited. Some ways to limit saturated fats include:
- Choose lean meat products.
- Trim any visible fat on the meat and discard.
- Grill or bake instead of frying.
- Limit processed meat such as sausage and hot dogs.
- Switch to olive or canola oil instead of butter for cooking.
- Avoid coconut and palm oil. Read food labels and check the ingredient listing.
What you eat has a big impact on your health and cholesterol levels. Choose to buy and eat heart-healthy foods and limit your saturated fat intake. Always check with your healthcare provider for advice on your diet and health concerns.
Commit to eating healthier. Be smart about the type of fat you are eating!
Wishing you good health and happiness in life.
Resources to learn more.
MyPlate/Re-think Fats – https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/rethink-fats
Control Your Cholesterol – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2023/06/01/control-your-cholesterol/
Stay Active for Better Health – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2023/06/01/stay-active-for-better-health/
Follow the Rainbow for Good Health – https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/2022/03/01/follow-the-rainbow-for-good-health-during-nutrition-month/
Learn the facts about fat – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550