Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat. Too many saturated fats in your diet can be bad for your health in the following two ways:
—Heart problems. Too many saturated fats raise your LDL cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
—Weight gain. A gram of saturated fat has twice the calories of a gram of protein and carbs.
Foods contain saturated fat
Many foods contain saturated fat. Foods with high amounts of saturated fat include:
Fatty red meat
Lard and cream
Palm and coconut oils
You do need some fat in your diet, but you should really lower the amount of saturated fat you eat.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest you keep saturated fat intake under 10% of daily calories. Although about half of the Americans have already taken steps to limit or avoid saturated fat, fewer than one-third stick to the limit. Don't worry, here's your handbook.
How to reduce saturated fat from your diet
1. Paying attention to labels
First, become a label reader in the market. Saturated fat can be hidden in packaged foods you've never thought about.
2. Limiting prepared foods
Extra saturated fat is often added to make foods taste better, rather than to add any nutritional value.
3. Choosing lean cuts of meat
If you can see any solid white fat, trim it off before cooking. You can cook poultry with the skin on to keep it moist, but you should remove it before eating.
4. Cooking at home
When you make dinner yourself, you can control fat content easily by broiling or baking chicken or fish instead of preparing complicated recipes. It's better to cook meat once or twice a week.
5. Using parmesan
When you need cheese to add creaminess, replace mozzarella with grated parmesan, which is lactose-free and low in fat. Besides, it tastes better than many other cheeses.
6. Using milk or yogurt
When you need cream in recipes, use low-fat or non-fat milk or yogurt to replace it. Try to adopt this healthy habit gradually. For instance, you can go from whole milk to 2 percent to 1 percent to non-fat in stages.
7. Avoiding dishes fried in fats
Try not to eat fried foods, especially with breading, because it's impossible to know fat content.
8. Avoiding too many yolks
Although eggs are rich sources of protein and vitamins, the yolks still have saturated fat and are relatively high in calories. Consider replacing half the yolks in recipes with an extra egg white.
Check Frittata Recipe: How to Eat Eggs Healthily to see how to eat eggs healthily.
9. Using plant-based oils
Replace butter, lard and shortening with healthier plant-based oils. Do not use palm and coconut oils. Although they are plant-based, they are higher in saturated fat than other plant oils. There are a variety of plant-based oils that are low in saturated fat and offer other health benefits:
—Canola oil: It has the lowest amounts of saturated fat (7 percent). It also contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can lower LDL cholesterol. This oil is better for stir-frying, grilling, and replacing solid fats in recipes.
—Olive oil: It can lower your risk for heart disease and reduce inflammation in the body. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils are better for uncooked dishes, while refined olive oils are better for cooked dishes.
—Peanut oil: It's high in monounsaturated fat and contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps maintain a strong immune system and healthy skin and eyes. This oil is better for frying, roasting and grilling.
—Avocado oil: It's also high in good fats and contains vitamin E. It is good for cholesterol levels, too. This oil is better for salad dressing, garnish and high-heat cooking.