Scientifically broken down–Saturated fatty acids (SFA’s) are any lipid (fat) which contains no carbon-carbon double bonds. It is referred to as saturated because all of the available carbon bonds are tied up with hydrogen atoms. This leaves no openings for rancidity or spoilage.
In simpler terms, you know you are looking at a saturated fat if it is solid at room temperature. For example, if you open a container of meat stew, you will probably find some fat floating on top. This fat is saturated fat. Other more obvious examples include: butter, meat fat, coconut oil, and palm oil.
Are Saturated Fats Good For You?
There are two sides to every story and every myth. When examining saturated fats you will find this to be no exception. Honestly, everyone has different bodies and different diet needs. Depending on your personal situation they can be both good and bad. In order to maintain a healthy diet, it is ultimately best that you consult your doctor.
However, for general purposes I will walk you through the good and bad.
Saturated fat found in coconut oil and butter help fight pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
When moderated efficiently it can also help:
- improve liver health
- promote healthy lungs
- promote healthy brain functions
- improve bone strength
As a general rule of thumb, too much of anything can be bad for you. If you are obese and are trying to lose weight it is recommended that you watch or try to eliminate your intake of saturated fats.
- Increase cholesterol levels which increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes
- Increase weight gain
How much should you be in taking on a daily basis?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans should limit saturated fat intake to less than 10% of total daily calories.
This target translates to 20 grams (g) per day for the average adult, which you can calculate by adding grams of saturated fat listed on food labels. People who are smaller, less active, or trying to lose weight, would have an 18 g daily limit, while those with higher calorie needs could eat 24 or 25 g per day
In order to keep track of the saturated fat intake just pay more attention to the food labels. Food labels are sometimes hard to find, but, are almost always hidden underneath a flap of some sort.
If counting numbers isn’t exactly your thing, just eat smarter.
Choose foods that are low in saturated fat such as lean meats (turkey, chicken, fish). Stay away from fried food, fast food, cream cheese, and other full-fat dairy products.