Saturated fat has been implicated in diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and hypertension. With a criminal history like that, hunting down and eliminating the saturated fat should be a high priority for anyone wanting to be healthy!
Baked goods provide another hiding place for these nasty fats – crackers, cakes, granola bars and protein bars. Any fat that is solid at room temperature is saturated, like butter, margarine, lard and vegetable shortening. Tropical oils are also saturated. In fact, one of the worst fats is coconut. Many people are surprised to learn that coconut oil is more saturated than lard.
Another place to check is the website of your favorite fast food restaurant.
For perspective, the American Heart Association recommends that no more than 5-6% of your calories come from saturated fat. For someone eating 2,000 calories, that comes to 11-13 grams per day. Anyone who is working on losing weight or reversing diabetes should consume well below that amount.
|Your calorie level||Saturated fat limits|
Now that you know what the limits are, let’s look at some common foods. A cup of 2% milk harbors 3 grams of saturated fat. A slice of cheese has 5 grams. You can see how it can add up quickly. But grab a meal on the go, and it gets worse. Chick-Fil-A’s cobb salad has 8 grams, and their macaroni and cheese has a whopping 15 grams! Go to Smoothie King and order their keto-champ berry smoothie and you’ll gulp down 18 grams of saturated fat!
|Food item||Saturated fat|
|2% milk (1 cup)||3 grams|
|1 slice cheese (1 oz)||5 grams|
|Cobb salad||8 grams|
|Macaroni & cheese||15 grams|
So what can you eat instead of these culprits? For a delicious dessert, try a bowl of fresh raspberries, a crunchy apple, or a juicy orange. If you get the munchies, reach for fresh baby carrots or cauliflower florets. Try a whole grain pita sandwich or veggie wrap with fresh avocados, tomatoes, kale, spinach, cilantro and bell peppers.
Need help for your “search and destroy” mission? Want ideas for new menu items to replace them? Schedule a strategy session with a dietitian. Many commercial insurance plans cover dietitian consults at 100%.
The more you switch out the nasty fats for healthy plant foods, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll avoid the saturated fat-induced diseases.
by Dorothea Sarli, MS RDN LDN
Registered Dietician Nutritionist