Saturated Fat in Diet: Is It Good For You? What is the Limit?

There’s a lot of debate about which fats are good, bad, and in-between. That includes saturated fat, which is generally considered to be unhealthy. However, it’s important to know whether saturated fat in a diet is healthy and how much you should consume.

Dark chocolate for Keto Diet

How much-saturated fat should you eat? It’s a loaded question. Some fats like trans-fats are considered to be “bad” while unsaturated fats are generally considered “good.” Then there are saturated fats. It’s important to take up this issue because many diets today are low-carb and high-fat. As a result, many diets allow for healthy fats. For example, the Keto Diet is 70% to 80% fats, so you’re required to eat lots of healthy fats. Should you include saturated fat in a diet like Keto. If so, what’s the limit you should add? These are important questions to take up when considering the types of fat to add to your diet.

You might have read about studies that say saturated fat is either good or bad. In the past, most studies gave the fat type a thumbs down. However, more cent studies have been mixed. Some have said that saturated fat is “good” while others have said it’s “bad.” It’s safe to say that the most recent studies have been generally more positive than in the past but are still mixed. That’s why you should separate fact from fiction so you’ll know whether or not you should add saturated fat to your diet and if so, how much.

What Is Saturated Fat?

This is an important question to take up before determining whether or not it’s good, bad, or mixed fat. Saturated fat is one of 2 primary categories of dietary fats that show up in foods. It’s different from the other type known as “unsaturated” fat. The differences are technical and are related to the chemical structure of the fats. These are related to things called “fatty acids” as in omega-3 fatty acids, for example.

It’s all very technical, but it’s important to know the difference. Saturated fat that occurs naturally in foods is contained in various foods like animal-based meats. One main difference takes place when the foods are cooled. In the case of animal-based fats, they thicken when cooled. However, foods like olive oil stay as fluids when they undergo the same process.

There are some other differences too. For example, there’s a lower chance that saturated fats will spoil vs. unsaturated fats. Another benefit is it’s more stable when using it for cooking.

Groups like the Us food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that people limit how much-saturated fat they consume. The reason is many health experts have connected the fat to heart disease and that’s a bad thing.

A diet that’s high in saturated fats might cause high cholesterol. That in turn can cause various issues like a higher risk of heart disease and events like strokes. Another drawback of saturated fat is it can also increase the risk of other problems related to ‘bad” cholesterol. This is different from unsaturated fat that boosts levels of “good” fat.

In recent years health experts have focused more on having a better ratio of good/bad cholesterol. For example, while many people think eggs are high-cholesterol it’s the good type. So, these are issues with taking up.

Is Saturated Fat In Diet Bad?

This is a key question to consider. It’s important to consider the facts about this kind of fat. In the past, it was reported that saturated fat can boost your cholesterol level, which can increase your risk of heart attacks. These are situations you’ll want to avoid since these are both serious situations in terms of overall health.

However, recent studies have been different. That’s because they seem to imply that as a Facebook relationship status “it’s complicated.” One key is why people even think that saturated fat is unhealthy.

In the 1900s there was an epidemic of heart disease in countries like the USA. There were question marks about what was causing spikes in the disease since it used to be rare. Scientists found that eating more saturated fat boosted cholesterol levels.

The main problem was at the time there weren’t any human studies that showed this link. The problem is the theories were based on things like animal studies and scientific guesses.

So, it turns out that saturated fat is a mixed bag. That’s because it can increase bad AND good cholesterol. So, it can have benefits and drawbacks. In the past scientists only counted total cholesterol but then they started tracking the good and bad types.

It’s also worth noting that there doesn’t seem to be a link between saturated fat and heart disease. This differs from previous studies that were done.

Many people have also recommended going on a low-fat diet due in part to supposed risks of eating diets of high saturated fat. However, studies show that a low-fat diet doesn’t seem to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies show that swapping out saturated fat and swapping in vegetable oils boosts the risk of this disease.

Foods high in saturated fat are often nutritious/healthy.

Healthy High-Fat Foods

1. Fatty Fish

This is an excellent source of something called omega-3 fatty acids. It includes fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout. Studies show that omega-3 is hearty-friendly and it’s recommended people eat fish at least twice per week.

Besides the good fats, you can get other nutrients in fatty fish. They include protein and several vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking for clean/lean protein go with fish and chicken over beef and pork. Interestingly, one of the criticisms of red meat is it’s higher in saturated fat than fatty fish, for example.  

2. Dark Chocolate

This might be a surprising one. It’s important to eat dark chocolate because it’s closer to the cacao bean than other options. Dark chocolate is about two-thirds fat, which makes it keto-friendly.

You can also get other nutrients from chocolate. They include copper, magnesium, iron, and others. This is easily a superfood and it’s a good excuse to eat more chocolate.

3. Cheese

Milk-based cheese is quite healthy. For example, a full cup of milk is used to make one slice of cheese. It’s a good source of good fats like milk itself. Besides that, cheese is a good source of many nutrients. They include Vitamin B12 and others. You can also get lots of protein and good fats.

4. Avocados

This is often considered a superfood and is an interesting fruit. That’s because it’s low-carb AND high-fiat. This makes it an ideal food for the keto diet. Avocados are around 77% fat. This puts them in the right range of the keto diet itself, which is usually about 70% to 80% fats.

There are other benefits of avocados. For example, they’re high in healthy unsaturated fat. They’re also high in potassium and provide 40% more potassium vs. a banana, so it’s a good option along with saturated fat in the diet.

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