What Foods Are High in Saturated Fat: What to Cut Out
We always hear that we have to bet on a low-fat, balanced diet to enjoy a healthy life, but why is that? There are different types of fat and some of them actually should be part of our diet - they are called "good fats" i.e. a type of optimal food for the proper functioning of the body, always up to a certain level.
However, there are other fats that must be strictly limited, such as trans and saturated fats, because they can affect negatively our body. In this OneHowTo article we will discover what foods are high in saturated fat so you know what to cut out from your diet in order to stay as healthy as possible.
Should you eat fat foods?
If you're wondering whether you should eat fat foods at all, know first of all that fat is essential for our body. In fact, if we consult the food pyramid we see that these foods ought to be part of our daily diet, but, their intake should be limited in quantity. Fats provide us with a lot of extra energy that our body uses as an energy source when needed; it is like a fuel reserve that stays in our body to keep us running at top performance for longer.
Every day, our body tends to consume about 2000 or 2500 calories: the exact amount depends on our age, sex, lifestyle, etc. If you want more precise guidelines, consult our article on how many calories to eat per day. These come directly from the food we eat daily. Therefore, if one day we take less calories, how is it that the body can continue to function? Exactly - thanks to the reserves of fat in the body.
Hence lies the importance of counting calories when you want to lose weight, because it is a mathematical formula: if every day you consume about 2,000 calories, you can bet on a low calorie diet (which provides fewer calories than you consume). Your body will have to burn your fat reserves to make energy, and therefore they will slowly disappear.
Besides, the fat from food is also healthy to improve the appearance of the skin and hair since it provides them with nutrients and fatty acids that allow greater brightness, hydration and smoothness.
What are the different types of fat?
However, not all fats from our food are beneficial. The ones that bring the properties mentioned above are called "good fats" - they are unsaturated and come from foods such as avocado and olive oil. We will move on to the 3 types of fat so you know what foods are high in saturated fat, what to cut out from your diet, and what you should keep.
Unsaturated fats or "good fats"
These are those that our body needs to function properly. If taken to a limited extent, they can help lower bad cholesterol, provide essential fatty acids for the growth and formation of muscles, and be the extra energy boost we need to live healthily.
These fats are found in nuts, olive oil, and fruits like coconut or avocado, among others. For a complete list, we recommend our article on which foods contain healthy fats.
Saturated fat or "bad fats"
Foods high in saturated fats can raise the bad cholesterol in our blood and thus increase the risk of suffering a heart attack or cerebrovascular disease, plus other problems such as hypertension, obesity, fatty liver, and so on.
These fats come primarily from animal foods and their derivatives, but they also can be found in vegetable oils, processed foods, and so on.
Today there is yet another type of fat: transgenic, i.e. a type of fat formed by processing vegetable oils into solid fats; this process known as "hydrogenation". They are harmful to the body because they raise bad cholesterol in the blood while also can also lowering HDL - that is, good - cholesterol.
Sweets and sugary foods
Sugary foods such as industrial baking, pastries or bakery products are rich in saturated fats. This is not only limited to industrially produced foods; homemade cakes are also high in saturated fat because of their ingredients (sugar, flour, yeast, etc).
Among the sweets high in saturated fat we find:
- Cookies and biscuits
- Croissants and other bakery products (Napolitans, cream or chocolate éclairs, doughnuts etc.)
- Buns of any kind
- Sweet cakes
- Chocolate (even dark!)
In addition, we must be careful with these products because many of them also contain trans fats and therefore become doubly detrimental to our health.
It's not only sweets that are rich in saturated fats, but also salty snack products found in supermarkets. They can be a major source of this kind of fat, so we need to limit them to the fullest. We must be very careful; there are misconceptions about snacks that are presented as "healthy" when in fact, they are full of saturated fats.
Salty snacks high in saturated fats include:
- Potato chips
- Microwavable popcorn
- Seed, cereal or nut bars
- Salty biscuits and saltines
- Nuts in bag (mixtures, salted sunflower seeds, etc.)
Many of these products are also rich in hydrogenated fats, i.e., trans fat and therefore are twice as harmful. It is best to cut out salty snacks altogether, since they are low in nutrients on top of bad for your health.
Among foods rich in good fats we find olive oil, but there are some transgenic hydrogenated oils that are rich in saturated fats and and therefore, must be avoided. This requires greater caution because they are often used to manufacture other products; therefore, we should read the nutrition label to make sure what they are made of.
Saturated oils include:
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
Note that these products contain 93% saturated fat, that is, per 100 grams we would be taking 470% of what we actually need.
Animal saturated fats
Animal products (whether direct or indirect) can also contain a high portion of saturated fat and therefore we should limit their intake to the maximum. Failing that, we can replace animal products high in saturated fats with ones with a lower fat count, such as lean meats, low-fat dairy and egg whites.
Here is a list of foods that are rich in saturated animal fats so you can better control your consumption:
- Pork lard
- Lamb meat
- Processed meats: sausages, hamburgers, meatballs, and so on.
- Condensed milk
- Ice cream
- Egg yolk
- Junk food
Now that you know what foods are high in saturated fats, you know what to cut out from your diet to stay healthy and energetic. If you have any doubts, please tell us in the comments section.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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