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Saturated Fat Facts

What is saturated fat?
How is saturated fat used in the body?
How much saturated fat do I need in my diet?
Which foods contain large amounts of saturated fat?
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What is saturated fat?

Saturated fat is a fat which is usually solid at room temperature and is fairly stable.  These fats have negative health effects.

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How is saturated fat used in the body?

Saturated fats are used to help build LDL cholesterol, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. For this reason, too much saturated fat in the diet can cause the levels of LDL cholesterol to increase. An increase of LDL cholesterol has been associated with a higher risk for heart disease. A diet high in saturated fat has also been attributed to an increased risk for hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease.

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How much saturated fat do I need in my diet?

Saturated fats should account for no more than 9% of an adult’s daily caloric intake.  This equates to no more than 20g of saturated fat for a person consuming 2000 calories per day.

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Which foods contain large amounts of saturated fat?

Food items which are high in saturated fat are usually animal-based. However, there are plant foods which are high in saturated fat as well.  Foods high in saturated fat include butter, lard, tallow, suet, high fat dairy products (whole milk, cream, cheese, etc), high fat meats, palm kernel, coconut oil, and cottonseed oil.

Lowering your intake of saturated fat can be easier than you think. Simply choose fat free dairy products whenever possible. Also, selecting meats lower in saturated fat (e.g., poultry or fish) can help.

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