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Saturated Fats

Updated: Apr 11, 2021

Dietary saturated fats are linked to developing heart disease. Consuming foods high in saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High LDL cholesterol levels in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

All major health organizations have asked to limit saturated fats and most say to keep below 10% of calories at the maximum. The American Heart Association has recommended even keeping it below 5%.

  1. Cheese

  2. Beef

  3. Other fats and oils

  4. Milk

  5. Frankfurters, sausages, luncheon meats

Animal products tend to be the major source of saturated fat, especially from beef, pork, chicken, processed meats and dairy. However, certain plant-based oils like coconut oil and palm oil are also high in saturated fat.

Replacing 5% of calories from saturated fat with calories from polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, or whole-grain carbohydrates has been shown to reduce risk for developing heart disease by 25, 15, and 9 percent, respectively. Hence, replacing saturated fats with any healthy plant-based whole foods will show health benefits. Cutting down or even better stopping eating meat and dairy products will help keep your heart healthy.

Research has also shown those who consume more saturated fats and trans fats increase their mortality risk from heart disease, cancer and cognitive diseases to those who consume more unsaturated fats.

Overall findings associated with saturated fats support recommendations to limit foods high in saturated fat, including animal products and vegetable oils, and replace those with plant-based whole foods.


  1. O'Neil CE, Keast DR, Fulgoni VL, Nicklas TA. Food sources of energy and nutrients among adults in the US: NHANES 2003–2006. Nutrients. 2012 Dec 19;4(12):2097-120.

  2. Li Y, Hruby A, Bernstein AM, et al. Saturated fats compared with unsaturated fats and sources of carbohydrates in relation to risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective cohort study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;66:1538-1548.  

  3. Wang DD, Li Y, Chiuve SE, et al. Association of specific dietary fats with total and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 5, 2016.


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