There are two main types of fats, saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Opinions differ about them, as some say that saturated fats are unhealthy fats, and therefore their intake should be reduced as much as possible, while unsaturated fats are considered healthy and it is important to be careful to eat them. [1]

So what are saturated fats? Where is it found in food? And what are its possible health effects? And what is the permissible amount of saturated fats, all of which you will find the answer to in the following article, in addition to a lot of information about saturated fats.

What are saturated fats?

Saturated fats are one of the unhealthy types, which are characterized by the fact that they only contain single bonds between the carbon molecules present in them, and therefore they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. [1،2]

Since they do not contain double bonds between carbon molecules, one of the characteristics of saturated fats is that they are mostly solid at room temperature. [2،3]

Is saturated fat harmful to the body?

Yes, saturated fats are harmful to the body, and most of the harms of saturated fats lie in the fact that they increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Also, it can cause increased inflammation in the body, increased risk of cancers and mental decline. [1]

However, there is still a lot of controversy about the danger of saturated fats and their negative impact on the health of the body and its various organs. [1،3]

Here are some details about the damage of saturated fats to the heart:

The effects of saturated fats on the heart

The most important harm of saturated fats, which is always warned about, is its contribution to increasing the risk of infection, as eating saturated fats in large quantities can lead to an increase in the level of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which increases the possibility of cholesterol deposition in the arteries, causing clogged. [1،2]

However, according to a review published in 2019 in the Journal of Fats in Health and Disease, reducing an individual’s intake of saturated fat does not significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. [4]

Regarding the interpretation of this, there are two types of harmful cholesterol, namely:

  • LDL cholesterol is the largest and least dense, and increased levels of it are not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  • LDL cholesterol is the smallest and most dense, and its excess causes atherosclerosis and increases the risk of heart disease. [3]

It is believed that saturated fat increases the harmful type 1 cholesterol, and therefore it will not affect the risk of heart disease.

Also read:

What are the sources of saturated fats?

Many people wonder where saturated fats are in food in order to avoid foods rich in them and stay healthy. In fact, most saturated fats are of animal origin, as they are found in various types of meat and dairy products.[3]

Given that these foods are beneficial to the body, it is advised to eat moderate amounts of them and not overeat them in order to avoid the dangers of saturated fats. [1]

The following are the richest sources of dietary saturated fat:

  • the cheese.
  • Butter.
  • Meat, such as pork, beef, and lamb.
  • poultry.
  • Natural oils, such as coconut oil and palm oil. [1-3]

Also, some processed and processed foods can contain saturated fats, which are recommended to be avoided as much as possible, including:

  • Processed meats, such as bacon and sausage.
  • Ready-made baked goods, such as cakes and cookies.
  • Fried foods, including broiled chicken and French fries.
  • Full-fat dairy products, such as ice cream and candy. [2،3]

Also read:

Does saturated fat increase weight?

The extent of the effect of saturated fats on weight depends on which of the sources of saturated fats were eaten, as it is advised to choose foods that contain other nutrients, including proteins and carbohydrates, and to stay away from foods rich in fats and lack other nutrients in the body. [1]

However, in general, excessive consumption of foods rich in fats, including saturated fats, will cause weight gain, as one gram of all kinds of fats provides the body with 9 calories, and therefore excessive consumption will increase the amount of calories an individual eats. calories per day, and will eventually lead to weight gain and injury. [2]

How much is allowed to eat an individual of saturated fats?

Regarding the permissible amount of saturated fats to be eaten per day, it is recommended that saturated fats provide the individual with less than 10% of his daily calories. [2]

For example, if the individual’s caloric need is 2000 calories/day, this means that 200 calories can be obtained from saturated fats, or approximately 22 grams of saturated fats per day. [2]

Is it possible to prepare a healthy meal that contains saturated fats?

Yes, as we mentioned earlier that there are healthy saturated fats, which are often found in meat, poultry, and dairy products, so it is possible to include these types of foods within the individual’s diet, in order to obtain the permitted daily intake of saturated fats. [1]

The individual can also pay attention when choosing foods rich in saturated fats, as some of them contain a lower percentage of these fats, for example, he can choose low-fat milk instead of full-fat milk. [2]