Fat, in general, is a key substance that serves as the storage and messenger of energy. As the source of energy, it’s relatively important that you have the right amount of fat in your system. Though your body can produce fats, there are certain fats that can only be acquired from the food you eat. And these outsourced fats are mainly categorized into three―trans fats, unsaturated fats, and saturated fats. In this article, we will put into the spotlight saturated fat and its core features and functions in the body. At the end of the discussion, you will know whether this particular type of fat is good or bad.
Where can you get saturated fat?
Saturated fats are obtained from animal meat such as pork, poultry, and beef. Dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese also come with saturated fats. Other sources include certain plant oils, pre-packaged snacks, and most processed products.
What are the pertinent features of saturated fat?
Saturated fats are fats that are infused with hydrogen molecules. They don’t have double bonds between fatty acids, hence a single chemical structure. And with only one bond between carbon atoms, saturated fats have solid consistency at room temperature.
Moreover, saturated fats can increase both high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The former is considered the good level of cholesterol while the latter is the bad level of cholesterol. With its significant impact in raising the cholesterol levels, this also comes with possible health effects.
Many studies have raised the influence of saturated fat on cardiovascular diseases. However, there are also researches that debunk such claims. Though saturated fat is relatively known to particularly increase LDL, which is the bad cholesterol level, some studies showed that saturated fats also come with a positive difference with your heart health. One research demonstrated how consuming dairy products may possibly lower the risk of cardiovascular illness. Simultaneously, eating processed meats may also increase the risk of cardiovascular concerns. Both dairy products and processed meats are sources of saturated fats.
With that being said, one cannot fully conclude that saturated food is bad. However, it’s important that you take precautionary measures when it comes to your diet, most especially that saturated fat has always been tagged as the bad kind of fat over the years. So, even if there is no conclusive judgment about saturated fat, you should know how to personally keep your body healthy at all times. Prevention is always better than treatment, right?
Why limit your intake of saturated fat?
As recommended by the American Heart Association AHA), your daily saturated fat consumption must not be more than 5% or 6% of your calorie intake. The percentage, however, can be higher as long as it’s not more than 10%. For example, a 2, 000 calorie diet, which is equivalent to 140 to 200 calories, must only have 16 to 22 grams of saturated fat. A slice of cooked bacon contains 9 grams of saturated fat.
Do take note that keeping an eye on your fat consumption is important. However, you shouldn’t eliminate all fats from your diet. Getting rid of fats means insufficient intake of fat-soluble vitamins and relevant fatty acids. Consequently, it may also result in eating too many unhealthy foods because of the inadequate fat composition. Your body needs healthy fats to function properly. Clearly, a balanced diet like mito diet includes healthy fats, among others.
How to cut down saturated fat?
Saturated fat covers a wide range of foods. This means you can still include an ample amount of foods with less saturated fat into your diet. Here are some relevant tips you can incorporate into your everyday diet.
Assess the amount of saturated fat from your calorie intake.
Using an online tracker or app, measure the saturated fat content and make necessary adjustments if it’s more than 10% of the total calorie amount. You might find this part very challenging but it’s really helpful. One step goes a long way, and these changes in your diet will benefit you in the long run.
Verify the nutrition facts label.
The labels on food products aren’t just for fancy purposes. These indicate the classification and quantity of calorie intake per item. Most nutrition labels break down the category of fats―saturated, trans, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and such. Make sure you pay attention to the list and opt for those with lower to none amount of saturated fat. You can replace these with foods that come with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy and more essential to your body.
Alter your diet.
Now that you know how to check and measure your saturated fat intake, it will be easier for you to make necessary healthy shifts. As mentioned earlier, you can substitute foods with higher saturated fats with those with polyunsaturated and polyunsaturated. You can also add high-fiber carbohydrates into your diet to reduce the risk of diseases.
How do you keep a healthy diet?
Eating healthy is quite a challenge. To make it less stressful, we’ve rounded up some salient tips you can follow through easily.
- Limit your meat or processed food intake to once or twice a week. Replace these with healthy alternatives like fishes, which are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Instead of frying your food and using solid fats, you can broil or bake it using healthier substitutes like olive and canola oils.
- Trim your meat or poultry selection that have visible fat. Opt for lean meat or skinless poultry.
- For a healthier snack, replace processed snack foods with nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamias, and walnuts. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also commendable snack options.
- Make sure to integrate different fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
- Add omega-3 into your diet. This kind of fat is relatively known to improve HDL, hence reducing the possible risk of heart attack and other related diseases. Because of its positive benefits, these are dubbed as healthy fats. Some of the foods that are very high in omega-3 are mackerel, salmon, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, soybeans, shrimps, seaweed, and chia seeds.
- Since most omega-3 fatty acids are sourced from fishes, you can make use of fish oil supplement.
- This may be a cliché but exercise is a salient part of a healthy diet. You have to stay active to improve your well-being. More so, the fats in your body play a huge role in bodily exercises. In fact, it’s a major component to help fuel your exercise. That is why you shouldn’t completely get rid of fats, particularly the healthy ones, from your body. Other impressive benefits of regular exercise include improvement of memory, protection against chronic diseases, management of proper weight, reduction of mental issues, and enhancement of bone and joints.
So, is saturated fat good or bad?
In general, fat is good. However, too much of everything can be bad. The same goes for saturated fat. Though you can still eat foods with saturated fat, it’s important that you keep track of your daily intake. Make healthy shifts in your diet now to avoid diseases in the future. Take it one step at a time. After all, you only have one body to take care of. So, do your part in keeping your health in tiptop condition with the tips above.