In the field of food science and nutrition, fats can be good and bad for the body. The good ones are often the unsaturated fat in which names such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids belong. These groups plays vital role inside the body. Many studies have shown the health benefits you can get from consuming foods rich with unsaturated fats.
On the other hand, the bad ones called saturated fats are the ones that wreak havoc on people’s health. According to the American Diabetic Association, the consumption threshold for saturated fats is at 7% of the total daily calories. This equate to about 16 g of saturated fats. Being aware of the foods rich in saturated fats can help you monitor your intake.
1. Hydrogenated Oils
Examples of hydrogenated oils are palm and coconut oils. These are the biggest source of saturated fats. Technically, every carbon atom in these substances is fully filled by hydrogen and this makes it saturated. Commercially processed coconut and palm kernel oils are known to be high with saturated fats. This is equal to about 93% of the saturated fats and that is about 470% of the daily value/DV per 100 g serving. The amount present in palm kernel or coconut oil is around 86.5 g equal to 433% of the DV per 100 g serving.
Baking pastries and cakes always make use of butter. This is also a choice for cooking restaurant foods like steak and pan-seared lambs. However, this versatile ingredient contains 15 g of saturated fats per 100 g serving and this equates to 257% of DV. A simple tablespoon of butter gives you 7 g/36% saturated fat DV!
Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein which are needed by the bones and muscles. However, it also contains lots of saturated fats. For example, hard goat cheese contains 24 g/123% DV of saturated fat, the Fontina has 96% DV, cheddar cheese contains about 105% DV and the Muenster, Gruyere, Parmesan, Monterey and Gjetost/Brunost contain 95% DV of saturated fat per 100 g serving (each).
4. Whipped Cream
You normally find whipped cream as topping in coffees, pies and cakes, but it also a lavish source of saturated fat. It has about 14% saturated fat per 100 g serving and that is 69% DV. Eat a tablespoon of whipped cream and you give your body 2% DV of saturated fat.
5. Animal Fats
Animal fats are commonly utilized for the preparation of sausages, gravy, meatballs, fried foods and the American favourite, burgers. This ingredient contains 35 to 45 g of saturated fats or 40% DV per 100 g serving. Simple bacon grease contains 40% saturated fats or equivalent to 195% DV per 100 g serving.
6. Processed Meats
Pate, sausages and other processed meats contain lots of animal fat. They have about 15% saturated fats and so, if you consume 85 g of these foods, you take in about 12.5 g of saturated fats or equivalent to 63% of the DV. Therefore, consume processed meats in moderation.
7. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, saturated fats are also present in them. Examples of fish oils containing high saturated fat levels are cod liver oil (23%), sardine oils (30%), salmon oil (20%) and herring oil (21%). Therefore, consume these fish and their corresponding oils in moderation in order to be mindful of the saturated fats intake from these sources.
8. Dried Coconut
One of the most versatile and healthy foods that you can consume is the coconut. It is widely utilized as for flavoring and confectioneries like candies and cakes. The dried coconut is commonly used to impart great taste for many Asian dishes, but it is also a food rich in saturated fats. You can get about 57 g of saturated fats per 100 g serving of the unsweetened variant and this is about 286% of the DV. On the other hand, the sweetened version gives you 26 g/132% DV. The raw coconut meat contains 27 g/148% DV of saturated fats per 100 g serving.
9. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are loaded with vital nutrients, minerals and vitamins as well as healthy fats and fiber that the body needs. However, the same healthy seeds and nuts have high levels of saturated fats. Consuming excessive seeds and nuts can be harmful. Example of seeds and nuts that contains high levels of saturated fats are pili nuts. This one has 13% saturated fats or equal to 156% of DV. Macadamia nuts (12%), Brazil nuts (15%), cashews nuts, watermelon seeds, pine nuts (10% each) and sesame seeds (9%) are other examples of seeds and nuts having high saturated fats content.
10. Dark Chocolate
These days, dark chocolate is synonymous to anti-oxidant and are considered nutritious. But it is also known to pack a high content of saturated fat. Pure baking chocolate contains 32 g/162% DV of saturated fats per 100 g serving. A typical white chocolate bar contains 9.1 g/46% DV of saturated fat. Cocoa powder, based on studies, contains lesser levels of saturated fats, which is about 2%. But there are certain varieties of cocoa powder that has about 25% saturated fat. Therefore, you have to be aware of it by checking labels carefully. If you really love eating chocolate, you have to consume them in moderation. This is the only way you can enjoy eating dark chocolates and reap its health benefits while you minimize the potential adverse effects of the saturated fat.
Some of the foods listed above are good for the body. In fact, at some point, you probably thought they were the healthier alternatives. In the case of saturated fats, this is still true. Nuts, fish oils and coconut can still be considered as lesser evils compared to salty and fatty fast-food fare. Just remember to balance your diet and take in food and produce in moderation to keep your blood cholesterol levels low.