First, let’s brush up our knowledge of fat! Fats are macronutrients that we consume in large quantity to get energy. Each fat molecule consists of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acids. These fatty acid molecules can be either monounsaturated, polyunsaturated or saturated fats.
Fatty acids are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These elements together form a bond. Saturated fatty acids have all their carbon (C) atoms fully saturated with hydrogen (H) atoms. These molecules have no double bonds of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Monounsaturated fatty acids have one double bond of carbon and hydrogen atoms. And polyunsaturated fatty acids have two or more double bonds of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
Now, let’s keep chemistry aside and concentrate on why we should care.
But why people and doctors are scared of saturated fat?
Scientific studies indicate that eating foods items like red meat and dairy products raises the level of good and bad cholesterol in your blood. LDL or bad cholesterol present in saturated fat enters your bloodstream in huge quantity and increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Scary. Isn’t it?
Therefore to live a healthy life, you should be aware of what you are eating and cut off saturated fat from your diet as much as possible. And this is recommended by leading healthcare providers all over the world. Yes; doctors claim that eating food items that contain little to no saturated fat is ideal for your heart and overall health because doing so lowers blood cholesterol levels and improves lipid profiles.
A list of food items that contain saturated fats
Saturated fats are found in many processed and unprocessed food items. Food items which are sourced from animals and some plants contain a high amount of saturated fat. Avoid the following items to live a healthier and happier life:
- Poultry with skin
- Beef fat (tallow)
- Lard and cream
- Fatty beef
- Baked and fried food
- Palm Oil
- Palm Kernel Oil
- Coconut Oil
- A 1/2-cup serving of ice cream contains almost 5 grams of saturated fat
Your daily limit for foods with saturated fats
Because you cannot or perhaps should not avoid saturated fat completely, no more than seven percent of your total daily calories should come from saturated fats and this recommendation comes from the American Heart Association. Out of 2,000 calories per day, just 140 calories may come from saturated i.e. no more than 16 grams of saturated fat/day.
Just remember that eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calories just as much as you need can help you live a healthy life. Consult a nutritionist to get customized advice.
Therefore, to maintain your health and avoid saturated fat eat more of these following foods:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products
- Red meat and sugary foods and beverages as less as possible
The best advice
To avoid the harmful effect of consuming saturated fat, replace food items high in saturated fats with food items high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. Cook your foods with liquid vegetable oil but not tropical oils. Eat more fish and nuts. Replace red meat with legumes and leafy greens.