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TIP OF THE DAY: Know Your Saturated Fat Foods

So good to taste, so bad for your heart (photo Paul Johnson | IST).

Last year, a media blitz let America know that trans fat was bad for us. Some cities legislated that it could not be used in restaurants. Manufacturers reformulated their products and declared “No Trans Fats!” on the packaging.

Trans fats are no longer the enemy.

Know what is? Saturated fat!

Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease—America’s number one killer. You can’t wait until you’re 50 to change your diet. Your healthy future starts today.

Saturated fat is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol. It is found mostly in foods from animals, plus some plants.

And darn it, saturated fat is found in America’s favorite foods: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, veal and their fats (chicken fat and lard, e.g.), for starters.


  • Butter, cream, milk, yogurt, cheeses and other dairy products made from whole and 2% milk contain dietary cholesterol. That means ice cream and frozen yogurt too. (Sob!)
  • And watch out for the saturated fat in coconut, coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), plus cocoa butter (a key component of chocolate).
    The American Heart Association strongly advises these fat guidelines for healthy Americans over age 2:*

  • Limit total fat intake to less than 25%–35% of your total calories each day.
  • Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total daily calories.
  • Limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day, for healthy people.
  • Limit trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories.
  • The remaining fats you consume should come from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils.
    If your calorie goal is 2,000 calories each day (recommended for sedentary females 21-50), that means no more than 16 g saturated fat and between 50 and 70 grams of total fat each day, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

    It isn’t easy to cut back on that delicious saturated fat. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single teaspoon.

    *Conventional thinking, currently being studied by researchers, is that infants need relatively large amounts of fat, including saturated fat, for proper growth and development.

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