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Limit Your Saturated Fat Intake

How to Reduce Saturated Fat in Your Diet

Reducing saturated fat is the cornerstone of a heart healthy diet. Foods contain saturated and unsaturated fats. A diet high in saturated fat is known to raise blood cholesterol and your risk of developing heart disease.

What Foods Have Saturated Fat?

Animal foods - meat, milk, eggs, cheese, butter - are generally high in saturated fats.

Animal foods are also the only source of cholesterol. So reducing your intake of high-fat animal foods will help your heart in at least two ways - reducing saturated fat intake and cholesterol intake.

Plant foods are generally low in total fat, making them low in saturated fat. Some plant foods, like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut, are higher in total fat. Although these plant foods have some saturated fat, they are higher in the healthier, unsaturated fat.

Diet Goal for Saturated Fat - Saturated Fat per Day

For most people, your goal is to eat 10% or less of total calories from saturated fat:

  • If you need 1,600 calories per day, that means 18 grams of saturated fat or less per day
  • If you need 2,000 calories per day, that means 22 grams of saturated fat or less per day
  • If you need 2,500 calories per day, that means 28 grams of saturated fat or less per day

If you have a high risk of heart disease, your physician may recommend you further lower your saturated fat intake to 7% or less of total calories.

Saturated Fat Content of Foods

Here is the saturated fat content of some common foods:

  • 1 large egg - 2 grams
  • Ribeye Steak, 6 oz - 4 grams
  • Hamburger (10% fat), 4 ounces - 5 grams
  • Coconut Milk, 1 tablespoon - 3 grams
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon - 7 grams
  • Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon - 2 grams
  • Peanuts, 1 ounce - 2 grams
  • Cheese (such as cheddar or American), 1 ounce - 4-6 grams

Cutting back on saturated fat intake should be a major goal and will help in your efforts to lower cholesterol.


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