Saturated fats have been notorious for increasing the risk of chronic diseases and health conditions. In fact, several studies have shown that excessive amounts of saturated fat in the diet can lead to heart disease and stroke. However, having said this, you shouldn’t completely eradicate saturated fats from your diet. Instead, try to limit the amount you consume. Before we delve any further, let’s find out what saturated fats are and how they affect the body.
What Are Saturated Fats?
Essentially, saturated fats are fatty foods that are typically solid in room temperature. Saturated fats consist of a higher melting point due to the presence of single bonds in their structure. These types of fats are also mostly derived from meat and dairy products.
How Do Saturated Fats Affect Your Health?
Saturated fats are responsible for raising the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. LDL cholesterol, if you aren’t aware of, is essentially bad cholesterol. It stands for low-density lipoproteins, which over time can present itself as a plaque-like substance covering the walls of arteries. An excessive amount of deposits along the walls can lead to cardiovascular conditions by blocking the natural blood flow. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. So what are some foods that are high in saturated fats?
Foods High in Saturated Fats
Whether you’re adding it to sandwiches, wraps or salads, mayonnaise goes well with almost anything. But before you spread a generous layer onto your bread, it’s important to note that this delicious dressing is high in saturated fats. The combination of its creamy texture and addictive taste makes mayonnaise hard to resist. Next time you’re ordering a sandwich or salad, opt for a healthier dressing or skip mayonnaise altogether.
Butter has played a crucial role in most of our dishes. We have it for almost everything, from breakfast to dinner and we consume them in a variety of ways. In fact, butter might be one ingredient that is just too hard to ignore or avoid. Most of the pastries and food we consume outside contain butter. Unfortunately, the saturated fat content found in butter is higher than that of mayonnaise. If you must have butter on your toast, limit to 1 to 2 teaspoons a day, nothing more!
As we have discussed earlier, saturated fats are mostly derived from animal origins. Hence, it is no surprise that lard, duck fat, chicken fat, meat drippings, lamb fat and other types of fat from animals are high in saturated fat. Animal fats are usually used in dishes to enhance taste, but too much of this, as you already know, can have detrimental effects on our health. Consider substituting herb oils and homemade ghee instead of using animal fat.
Much like butter, cheese is another ingredient that is easy to overconsume. It can be fried (which unsurprisingly enough increases the saturated fat content), it can be added to various foods to enhance texture and flavour. Although cheese comes with a number of nutritional benefits, and excessive intake of this dairy product will put your heart at risk. To put it into context, just consuming a slice of cheese a day will let you meet half of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat that you are required to meet. Limit your intake of cheese and keep to a regular exercise regime to keep your heart functioning at its peak.
Ah whipped cream, fluffy and sweet, the topping that completes any dessert. Hard to skip, this ingredient, yes you guessed it, is high in saturated fat. Besides increasing cholesterol levels in the blood, whipped cream also causes you to gain weight quickly. Skip on the whipped cream or try substituting some of your desserts with sour cream instead, this will dramatically decrease the saturated fat content in your foods.
Salami, chorizo, bacon, sausages are just some of the processed meats that you should consume as little as possible. Apart from containing high amounts of animal fat, processed meats also contain additives and preservatives that increase shelf-life, enhance taste and texture of the meat. Meet your daily protein requirement from healthier sources such as chicken breast boiled lentils, beans, tofu and mushrooms instead of obtaining them from processed meat.
It’s not a surprise to find deep-fried food on this list. Indulging in fried food every now and then is fine, but the problem arises when you make it a daily habit of eating fried food. Fried foods are notorious for being high in saturated fats and trans fats, both of which wreak havoc in the body by causing significant health conditions. Some of the most common fried foods that you should avoid are foods that are fried in batter, french fries, fried chicken etc. If you do have the munchies, consider pan-frying your food in olive oil, this will not only make it much healthier but will do so without compromising the taste of said foods.