What are saturated fats?
From a chemical standpoint, saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.
How do saturated fats affect my health?
Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. Be aware, too, that many foods high in saturated fats can be high in calories too.
What foods contain saturated fats?
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Examples are:
- fatty beef,
- poultry with skin,
- beef fat (tallow),
- lard and cream,
- cheese and
- other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.
In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.
What’s my daily limit for foods with saturated fats?
The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fats a day.