Saturated Fat: Know the Facts

Saturated fats and its negative effects on health is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to nutrition. Although some experts warn that overconsumption, or even moderate amounts of saturated fats, can pose negative effects on your health, others argue that saturated fats are not completely harmful and can even be included into meals as part of a healthy diet.

In this article, we bring to light the truth about saturated fats, its negative effects if not taken in moderation and how to incorporate the right amount of saturated fats into your meals for a healthy and balanced diet.

What’s Saturated Fat?

Saturated fat is often regarded as a “bad” fat and is typically grouped with trans fat—a type of fat that’s popularly known to cause health issues such as increased risks of heart diseases and LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, no research evidence about saturated fat has been conclusive.

Although research has indicated that consuming some type of highly saturated food may have adverse effects, this information cannot be generalised to all foods that contain saturated fat. In other words, the causes of the adverse effects could be due to other variables in the given food or diet as a whole and therefore cannot be attributed to saturated fats.

Negative effects

Saturated fat is often told to be eaten in small amounts. The main reason for this is because saturated fat may increase certain heart disease risk factors, including heart attacks and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

But whether or not saturated fat is inherently bad, is not proven for certain. Although it is clear that saturated fat is commonly known to increase heart disease risks, there is no conclusive evidence to prove that it is the singular contributor for these negative effects. This is because there are other nutrients that could be the source of the negative consequence. Nonetheless, this uncertainty should caution us to stay on the safe side and regulate consumption of saturated fat.

Food High in Saturated Fat

Even though there isn’t enough research to prove that saturated fat is bad, it is important to eat it in moderation. Some of these high saturated fat foods include butter, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cheese, ice cream, pastries and many more. It is important to limit intake of such food not only because of high saturation levels, but also because of other potentially unhealthy nutrients.

Monitoring Saturated Fat Intake

If you’re a male between the ages of 19 to 64, a healthy daily amount of saturated fat would be 30g a day and for females that would be reduced down to 20g. If you’re looking to eat a high saturated fat food, be sure to check its nutritional value beforehand so as to consume within a healthy and moderated amount.

But, regardless of whether you eat within an acceptable range of saturated fat or not, it is recommended that you reduce overall fat intake and replace it with unsaturated fat such as omega-3 fats. These foods would include beans, berries, walnuts, leafy greens, salmon, tofu, avocado and many others!

As a rule of thumb, be sure to limit your saturated fat intake as foods high in it are typically associated with being unhealthy. But with that being said, it doesn’t mean you have to cut them off entirely, but rather, have them in moderation!