What is Saturated Fat?

Saturated fat is mostly found in high cholesterol, animal-based foods. Take a look at these foods with the highest saturated fats and cholesterol raising fats.

Top Food Sources
of Saturated Fat
in the United State
s


1. Regular cheese
2. Pizza
3. Grain-based desserts  
4. Dairy desserts
5. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes 
6. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs  
7. Burgers  
8. Mexican mixed dishes  
9. Beef and beef mixed dishes  
10. Reduced fat milk  
11. Pasta and pasta dishes  
Source: National Cancer Institute

Top Food Sources
of Cholesterol Raising Fat
in the United States


1. Regular cheese
2. Dairy desserts 
3. Pizza  
4. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes 
5. Grain-based desserts  
6. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs 
7. Reduced fat milk 
8. Burgers   
9. Mexican mixed dishes  
10. Pasta and pasta dishes 
11. Beef and beef mixed dishes
Source: National Cancer Institute

Notice anything odd?
The two lists are nearly identical!

To be fair, certain plant-based foods are also high in saturated fats... like coconut in all forms, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and vegetable shortening.  Baked, fried and processed foods often contain these fats, too.

The simplest way to know if a food contains saturated fat?
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature.

Are saturated fats harmful?

For many years, saturated fat intake has been linked to a higher risk for heart disease. But recently this has been called into question.

A systematic review of the research found no connection between dietary fat intake and heart disease. A team at the University of Cambridge looked at 72 research studies in 18 countries with over 600,000 participants. On March 18, 2014 they published their findings, concluding:

"Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats."

[Source: Annals of Internal Medicine]

What is a safe amount of saturated fat to eat?

The answer depends on the who you ask. Many health advocacy groups recommend limiting your dietary saturated fat to 7-10 % of your calories (15-20 grams/day if you eat 2,000 calories). If you already have a chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis, a lower amount may be recommended.

How can I lower my saturated fat intake, but still eat foods that I like?

Remember that some fats are healthy. While cutting back on saturated fats, the key is to substitute healthier fats.

  • Use liquid vegetable oil sparingly (canola or olive oil) for cooking rather than solid oils like shortening, bacon grease or lard.

  • Steam, microwave or bake foods instead of frying. Try something new. You may surprise yourself!

  • Eat more Omega-3 fats. These polyunsaturated fats are the healthiest fats for heart and brain health. Best food sources of Omega-3 fats in order: 

    flax seeds
    walnuts

    sardines
    salmon
    soybeans
    tofu
    shrimp
    brussels sprouts
    cauliflower
    winter squash


    [Source: WHFoods]
> > What is Saturated Fat?

Saturated Fat Foods List (alphabetical)

bacon
bacon grease
baked goods (biscuits, cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries)
baking chocolate
beef and beef mixed dishes
beef fat (tallow)
beef jerky
beef sausage
beef tallow
biscuits
Brazil nuts
burgers
butter
cakes
candy
candy bars
cashew butter
cashews
cheese
chicken and chicken mixed dishes
chips
chocolate
cocoa butter
coconut in any form
coffee whitener

cookies
corn chips
cottonseed oil
cream
cream cheese
cream substitute
cream (whipped)
crisps
dairy (full fat)
dairy desserts
desserts (grain based)
doughnuts
duck
eggs & egg mixed dishes
evaporated milk
fat duck
fatty meats
fish oil
frankfurters
french fries
fried foods
fried white potatoes
ghee
grain-based desserts
ground beef
hamburgers
hot dogs
ice cream
lamb
lard
luncheon meats
Macadamia nuts
margarine (hard stick)
meat pies
Mexican mixed dishes
milk (whole)
milk (reduced fat)
muffins
nut butters
nuts/seeds and dishes w/these
palm oil
palm kernel oil
pasta and pasta dishes
pasteries
pine nuts
pizza
pork products (bacon, ribs, hot dogs, franks, and sausage)
poultry with skin on
potato chips
potatoes (fried white)
processed meats
pumpkin seeds
red meat
ribs
salad dressings
salami
seeds
sesame seeds
sesame butter
shortenings (solid oils)
sour cream
steak
tahini
tallow
veal
vegetable shortening
whipping cream