Whether you are trying to shed weight, lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, or simply want to be more heart-healthy, reducing foods high in saturated fats is a good idea. While some high-saturated fat foods may already be on your radar (cheese), others, like coffee creamer and ice cream, may surprise you.
What Is Saturated Fat?
Saturated fats comprise no double bonds in their chemical structure. They are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Because of their chemical arrangement, they have a solid consistency at room temperature.
Saturated are present in a variety of foods, including:
- Animal meat, including poultry
- Certain plant oils such as coconut or palm kernel oil
- Dairy products including butter, cheese, and milk
- Processed meats including sausages, bologna, hot dogs, and bacon
- Pre-packaged snacks including chips, crackers, pastries, and cookies
Why Limit Saturated Fats in The Diet
The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends that less than 5% to 6% of our daily caloric intake consist of saturated fat.
Although the amount of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) appears to be increased by consuming saturated fats, research has indicated that the type of LDL that is increased is actually the buoyant, large LDL. Larger Low-density lipoprotein particles do not appear to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease .
In contrast, dense, small LDL—the type that has been shown to promote atherosclerosis formation in studies—appears not to be affected. In a few instances, the risk was even minimized with saturated fat consumption .
Few studies also suggest that the type of saturated fat-containing foods can make a difference in your heart health. One large study indicated that consuming dairy products can actually lower the risk of heart disease. At the same time, have processed meats in the diet could increase your cardiovascular disease risk .
Foods High In Saturated Fats
1. Dried And Sweetened Coconut
Saturated Fat 1 cup (93 g) – 29 g, (100 g) – 57 g; 1 Ounce (28 g) – 16 g
Do you like to top your smoothie container with a generous amount of sweetened and dried coconut shavings? Or do you frequently have yummy sweets made of dried coconut? Well, dried coconut may not be as healthful as coconut oil or even tender coconut chiefly because it consists of a high amount of saturated fat.
You may consume about one to two tablespoons of dried coconut one or two times a week to prevent saturated fat overload in the body.
2. Brazil Nuts
Saturated Fat 1 Cup (133 g) – 20.1 g, 1 Ounce (28 g) – 4.2 g,
(100 g) – 15.1 g;
Brazil nuts contain the highest quantity of saturated fats. Though they have excellent nutritional qualities, you can simply overindulge them because they taste yummy and buttery. Consume other healthier nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamia, and pine nuts. Be sure to have just a handful of these nuts per day.
[Read: Benefits of Brazil Nuts]
3. Processed Meat
Saturated Fat 1 Ounce (28 g) – 1.6 g, (100 g) – 14.9 g; 3 slices (5 g) – 6 g
Processed meat like salami, sausage, chorizo, and bacon are high in saturated fats and sodium. Furthermore, processed meats have animal fat, which also puts them on the unhealthier side when taken in excess amounts frequently.
Consume boiled lentils, mushrooms, beans, tofu, and lean meat like chicken breast to get protein instead of processed meats.
Saturated Fat 1 Tablespoon (14 g) – 1.6 g, (100 g) – 12 g; 1 Teaspoon (5 g) – 0.36 g
Who doesn’t like a dollop of silky smooth mayonnaise in sandwiches, salads, and wraps! It has the wonderful property of turning a dull salad into a delightful one. But the issue is the number of saturated fats present in it. Additionally, because of its feel-good taste and creamy texture, we all tend to overindulge it.
The finest way to have it is to prepare low-calorie salad dressing with olive oil, use cottage cheese in wraps and sandwiches, and eat no more than 2 tablespoons per day.
Saturated Fat 1 Tablespoon (14.2 g) – 7 g, (100 g) – 51 g; 1 Teaspoon (4.7 g) – 2 g
Butter tastes and smells so great that it is almost unimaginable to exclude it from our lives. But here’s the thing. Unless we start consuming it in restricted amounts, we will pay to fix our “broken” heart. If we look at the saturated fat content of butter, it is way higher than mayonnaise.
That’s why we must consume as little butter as you can. Have one or two teaspoons of butter per day.
[Read: Butter vs Plant-Based Butter]
6. Animal Fats
Saturated Fat Per Tablespoon (14 g) – 4.55 g, (100 g) – 39 g; Per Teaspoon (4 g) – 2 g
Lard, meat drippings, chicken fat, goose fat, duck fat, and lamb fat are all animal fats that apparently take any dish’s taste quotient to the next level.
And if we are not careful enough, it has the full potential to take us to the upper level (if you know what we mean)! We know it does taste good, but why not find a substitute that’s lower in saturated fats and good for your health? Use homemade ghee and herbed oils instead of the animal fats mentioned above.
Saturated Fat 1 Cubic Inch (17 g) – 3.6 g, (100 g) – 21 g; 1 Slice (1 oz) – 6 g
It’s easy to overeat cheese. Particularly when you can have it in salads, with bread, fried, as a dip, or just nibble it. Though cheese has several beneficial nutritional qualities, overindulging it can put our cardiovascular health at risk.
In just a slice of cheese, we get half the daily prescribed amount of saturated fat! Now, think about the quantity of cheese used in burgers and pizzas. Cut down the amount of cheese you have per day and workout regularly to keep your heart fit.
Saturated fats are not bad in limited quantities. Keep a check on the amount of high-saturated fat foods you take, and you will be able to protect your bank balance and heart (after all, bypass surgery with other tests and medicines will burn our pockets).
So, eat mindfully and reap the health advantages that saturated and unsaturated fats have to offer. Bon appétit!