In my last blog I wrote about healthcare professionals disagreeing on what consisted of a healthy diet. We can add the consumption of saturated fat to the list of items that do not have a consensus regarding the consumption of it. We were once told to avoid saturated fat because it causes heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Then researchers said it is okay to consume saturated fat in moderation.
What is saturated fat? I do not want to give the molecular breakdown definition of saturated fat. The simple description for saturated fat is that it is found in animal products and oils including coconut and palm. Saturated fat occurs naturally in foods. Foods with the highest concentration of saturated fat include dairy, butter, cheese, creams, lamb, pork, and beef.
Saturated fat is different from trans fats. There is a consensus that trans fats are unhealthy. The belief is that trans fats increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and decreases HDL (good) cholesterol levels. You should avoid consuming trans fats. Read the labels for the food you purchase to see if it includes trans fats.
The American Heart Association recommends that you do not consume more than 5% to 6% of your calories from saturated fat. They give the example of 2,000 calories per day. If you consume 2,000 calories per day only 120 calories should come from saturated fat. That comes to 13 grams per day. Some healthcare professionals believe you can consume more grams per day. I have seen 22 grams based on consuming 2,000 calories per day.
Monitoring your saturated fat intake will take some effort. You can research how many grams of saturated fat is contained in the food you consume. For instance, one chicken egg has 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 1 cup of 1% milk contains 1.5 grams, 3 oz. of lean beef contains 5 grams, and 1 pat of butter contains 2.5 grams. Baked goods and fried foods contain high levels of saturated fat.
Our bodies need fat to function at an optimal level; however, we should avoid consuming more than our bodies need to function. In the past, we were told that fat makes you fat. Now we are learning that is not necessarily true. Consumed in moderation saturated fat can be part of a healthy diet.
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