A Case For Saturated Fats
Americans have long been told that saturated fats are to be avoided, because they lead to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. New studies are emerging, however, that suggest they aren’t so bad after all. Looking carefully at both sides of the debate can help shed light on which choices are best.
Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products, such as butter, bacon, fatty meats, lard and milk fat. However, they can also be found in some plant products, most notably coconut oil and palm oil. If it is a natural product and is solid at room temperature, it is most likely a saturated fat.
According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, published in 2010, we should strive to get fewer than 10 percent of our calories from saturated fats. Given an average 2,000-calorie diet, that’s about 22 grams of saturated fats per day. Most of the saturated fats in American’s diets come from regular cheese, pizza, grain- and dairy-based desserts, chicken and chicken mixed dishes, sausages and bacon, and burgers. For comparison’s sake, an ounce of Cheddar cheese contains 6 grams, a Big Mac has 10 grams and a 10-ounce ribeye has 28 grams.
The dietary guidelines state we should avoid foods containing saturated fats when possible, and strive to get most of our fats from unsaturated sources, such as those found in seafood, nuts, seeds, and oils. Historically, these were shown to have a protective effect on the heart.