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    Wellness and preventative medicine

    What is saturated fat?

    How it affects your body and what foods can it be found in

    Saturated Fat

    Saturated fat is a type of fat that is solid at room temperature and can be found in a variety of foods such as:

    • Cheese
    • Red meat
    • Eggs
    • Butter
    • Lard
    • Tropical oils like coconut or palm oil

    Fat is part of a healthy diet because it can help feel fuller for longer and with vitamin absorption.

    While eating products that contain fat can be an important, too much saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease.

    Saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Research has shown that high levels of LDL in the bloodstream can lead to an increased risk for cardiac events like heart attacks or strokes.

    The American Heart Association recommends no more than 5 to 6% of your total calorie intake coming from saturated fat.

    In a 2,000 calorie per day diet, this would mean around 120 calories or less should come from saturated fat.

    How can I reduce my saturated fat intake?

    • Limit processed foods: Many processed foods contain saturated fat, especially foods that are fried in oils containing saturated fat. Choosing whole foods will naturally help decrease the amount of saturated fat you eat. Opt for more whole grains as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables.
    • Add some plant protein: Since many animal sources of protein contain saturated fat, supplementing your diet with more plant-based proteins can help reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Some good options include beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, edamame, nuts and seeds, or nutritional yeast.
    • Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat: Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and can be better for your health than saturated fat. Examples of unsaturated fat include olive or avocado oil, peanut butter, or nuts and seeds. Try cooking with avocado oil instead of coconut oil, or maybe try adding nuts and seeds to your meal instead of red meat.

    While having enough dietary fat is important, too much saturated fat can be bad for your health. Limiting your saturated fat intake can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.

    To learn more about nutrition, including saturated fat, make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at the closest Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Center to you.

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