Since the 1980s, saturated fats have been considered bad for your health. However, recent research suggests that not everything is so simple.
Ultimately, in moderation, saturated fatty acids are not as bad for the body as previously believed. Even some examples of foods with saturated fat can have health benefits.
This article describes foods and products with saturated fat—both of animal and vegetable origin.
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Saturated Fat: What are they?
Saturated fats are substances and foods that contain a significant amount of saturated fatty acids.
To know what is saturated, you have to know how the fat molecules are formed.
Each fat molecule consists of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acids. Glycerin is the same in all cases, while fatty acids are not.
Each fat molecule is made up of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acids. Glycerol is the same in all fats, but fatty acids are not.
The word saturated refers to the number of double bonds that these fatty acids have.
To see it more clearly, you can check the following image:
Keep in mind that most foods that contain any fat contain a combination of several fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are prevalent in animal products and unsaturated in vegetables. Also, the benefits and harms of saturated fat depend on the length of its carbon chain.
Foods with Saturated Fat – List of Examples
Foods that contain saturated fat are animal fats, such as meat, lard, butter, cheese, milk, and cheese. Examples of plant products are coconut oil and palm oil.
As we mentioned before, saturated fatty acids in food products rarely appear exclusively in a unique form. Saturated fatty acids account for 30 to 50% of all fatty acids in most cases. Here is a list of examples of foods with saturated fat:
Butter is a classic example of a food with saturated fat. It is up to 80% fatty acids of this type. It also contains fat-soluble vitamins, mainly vitamin A and vitamin D.
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Ghee is a product that is made from ordinary butter by simmering it. The water evaporates, and as a result, the impurities are burned and precipitated. The fat content in ghee oil can be up to 100% by weight. Saturated fatty acids account for approximately 60%.
Most cheeses contain at least 30% total fat, half of which is saturated fatty acids. The more fat the cheese has, the more saturated fat it has. In addition, cheese contains calcium (100 g completely covers the necessary daily intake), as well as other minerals and vitamins: magnesium, iron, and B vitamins.
- Agrarian crema
Since sour cream is made based on milk cream, it is close to butter in its composition. Sour cream is an example of food made up of saturated fat. However, its content is lower, up to 15% of total saturated fatty acids
On average, about a third of all the fats in meat are saturated fatty acids. Chicken meat contains 4 g of fat (1 g of saturated fat), lean beef – 10-15 g of total fat (4-6 g of which are saturated), pork – up to 30% of fat (and 9-10 g are saturated fatty acids).
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- Whole dairy
The higher the fat content of milk, cottage cheese, baked fermented milk, or other dairy products, the more they contain saturated fatty acids. A glass of whole milk has 10 g of fat (and 6 g of these are saturated fat), while in skim milk, they are practically absent.
- Sausages and sausages
Generally, hot dogs, cold cuts, and various meat products contain up to 20 to 40% fat. As in other examples of foods with animal fat, one-third are saturated fatty acids. As processed foods go through the processing process, they can also contain trans fats. That is why the WHO has declared them carcinogenic.
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a leader in healthy saturated fats. 100 g contains up to 35 g of fat, 90% of which is medium-chain saturated fatty acids. For this reason, coconut oil is said to be absorbed faster, and when consumed in moderation, it can come with certain benefits.
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- Palm oil
Palm oil is another example of plant food that is high in saturated fat. Palm oil is estimated to be the most widely used vegetable oil globally: up to 50% of supermarket products contain it. 100 g of palm oil represents up to 50 g of saturated fat.
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Both the cocoa butter and milk used to make chocolate are products that can contain saturated fat. Depending on the type of chocolate, the amount they have. We are talking about 30 g of fat per 100 g of chocolate, of which 60-70% corresponds to saturated fatty acids.
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How much-saturated fat can you eat per day?
On average, nutritionists recommend consuming up to a third of calories in the form of fat; this is approximately 60-70g per day for an adult.
The amount of saturated fat should not be more than 10% of this amount. This is a maximum of 6.7 grams per day. This is even more important for people who have high blood cholesterol levels.
Excess of this amount can be associated with the development of heart disease and weight gain. At the same time, research shows that not all saturated fats are wrong (for example, coconut oil). In excess, they could increase lousy LDL cholesterol.
Benefits and Contraindications
When we talk about the benefits and contraindications of saturated fats, it is essential to note that they are not all the same.
By analyzing data from approximately 75,000 people in the UK and Denmark it was concluded that (2):
- People who eat long-chain saturated fats (made up of 16 or more carbon atoms) mostly contained in animal fats, have a higher risk of heart attack.
- While those that eat short or medium-chain saturated fats generally found in plant products (such as coconut oil) have a lower risk of heart attack.
- The smaller vegetable saturated fats can travel directly from the intestine to the liver and do not require the bile to break them down. (3)
Therefore, it is correct to say that saturated fats of animal origin are bad for health and have contraindications for people with heart disease. There is not enough evidence to say that foods with vegetable saturated fats can increase the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fats are a type of edible fat.
Foods with saturated animal fats are meats, cold cuts, and whole dairy products: butter and cheeses. Examples of plant products are coconut oil and palm oil.
In terms of benefits, it can be said that vegetables are the best. If we talk about contraindications, the worst foods are sausages and meat. These foods have a lot of long saturated fatty acids, but they are also accompanied by trans fats.