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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Fats >>  Saturated Fat

Saturated Fat

Although fat generally possesses a negative side, the fact is fat is also necessary for various vital functions in the body like providing essential fatty acids, it is important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A,D,E,K, maintain a healthy lining between the bones (Cerebral vascular fluid and synovial fluid), protects body organs, keeps the body insulated and helps in the construction of skin and hair.

Fatty acid molecules are mostly composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Saturated fat is basically a fat containing saturated fatty acid. A saturated fatty acid is saturated with hydrogen atoms where each hydrogen atom is attached to every carbon atom. Saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature.

Saturated fats are mainly found in food that are from animal origin like pork, beef, eggs, whole milk, cheese, butter and lard. Plant sources of saturated fats are coconut, coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often known as tropical oils). Saturated fats also contribute to the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. Saturated fatty acid is also associated with weight gain and possible increase in the risk of colorectal, lung, breast, uterine and prostate cancer with high consumption of animal fats or saturated fats. However more conclusive scientific studies are required to prove its direct co-relation with these disease conditions.

Saturated fatty acid when consumed in excess tends to raise the blood cholesterol levels. Animal origin foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol. High cholesterol levels in turn causes the arteries passing blood to heart to block leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other heart diseases. On the contrary if a diet is low only in saturated fats it doesn’t lead any significant weight loss when compared with other standard diets.

Saturated fats must be consumed in minimum amounts and if possible should be replaced with other healthy unsaturated fats. Saturated fat consumption should not exceed beyond 7 % of the total calories. Switching to healthier options like lean meats, skimmed milk and skimmed milk products or dairy products consumption if switched to soy milk and soy products shall consciously reduce the amounts of saturated fats in diet. Also it is important to avoid deep fried/oily foods and other foods that are commonly made from margarine and butter that are high in saturated fat; these include biscuits, cookies, cakes and pastries. Before consuming any food product, ensure to read the nutritional label and choose foods that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Submitted on February 24, 2009