Saturated fat is a bad fat found in meat and dairy products like full cream milk, cheese, butter and cream. Many cooked foods like pizza, sausage, and dairy desserts. In technical terms, saturated fats are simply fat molecules with no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
Eating saturated fats increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Foods containing saturated fats
- Dairy products: eg. cheese, butter, and milk
- Animal meat: eg. beef, poultry, pork
- Certain plant oils: eg. palm kernel or coconut oil
- Processed meats: eg. bologna, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon
- Pre-packaged snacks: eg. crackers, chips, cookies, and pastries
How is saturated fat different from Cholesterol
For a layman, cholesterol and saturated fats are used interchangeably. If you ask the doctors, they will suggest you to avoid both, but there is slight difference between the two. Most cholesterol is produced in the liver. It is used to synthesize bile salts used for fat digestion. It is also essential for the body to make hormones, vitamin D, and other materials. Cholesterol which can be found on food is called dietary cholesterol and is present in egg yolk, liver, and kidneys. However, if you eat too much of dietary cholesterol, the extra amount will accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels leading to an increase of LDL cholesterol.
On the other one can do without saturated fat as it increases the LDL cholesterol level. Though on packs it may be written ‘No cholesterol’ but saturated fats are present in oils too. One should avoid saturated fats and replace with healthy alternatives.
Saturated fats can be replaced with
- fruits, vegetables
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- poultry, fish and nuts
Follow a restricted diet and exercise daily to stay fit. Consult your doctor and read the nutritional packs before buying any packed food and avoid saturated fats as much as you can.