Fat—many go into panic mode with the mere mention of this word! For those who are watching their weight, this simple three letter word is the arch enemy. Most dieters spend a long time exploring the calorie count of each dish before indulging in them—be it pastries, pizzas or pastas. But we are all human and can sometimes give way to temptation, ending up with those extra pounds, coupled with a rise in cholesterol levels and other health risks. It is widely believed that the key to healthy weight is restricting the consumption of foods high in fats. However, this is a clear misconception as all fats are not unhealthy. There are basically two types of fats—saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats comprise of monounsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats.
These fats are considered healthy fats and are vital for our body. They are associated with several health benefits and it is advisable to consume foods containing unsaturated fats. Saturated fats, on the other hand, are the real culprits that can harm our body, leading to several health problems, weight gain being one of them. They have derived their name from the fact that they have a chemical composition where the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. A saturated fat contains triglycerides with only saturated fatty acids. These fats are in solid form at room temperature. Consumption of foods high in saturated fats can lead to a rise in cholesterol levels in your blood, which increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and even cancer. Though saturated fats should not be completely eliminated, their consumption should be restricted to keep these health issues at bay. It should also be kept in mind that trans-fats and margarine are even more harmful than naturally occurring saturated fats and should better be avoided.
Top Ten Saturated Fat Foods:
The American Diabetic Association has fixed the consumption limit of saturated fats at 7% of total daily calories. In simpler words, we should not consume more than 16 grams of saturated fats if we are following a 2000 calorie diet. This is only possible by being aware of the foods that are high in saturated fats so that their consumption can be restricted. To make it easier for you, given below is the list of foods high in saturated fats:
1. Hydrogenated Oils:
By definition, hydrogenated oils like coconut and palm oils are the highest food sources of saturated fats. In other words, every carbon bond is saturated by a hydrogen bond. Commercially processed palm kernel and coconut oils are particularly high in saturated fats, comprising of 93% saturated fats which account for 470% of the daily value in a 100 gram serving. The amount of saturated fats in naturally occurring coconut or palm kernel oils is comparatively lesser at 86.5 grams which is 433% of the daily value (DV) in a 100 gram serving.
Butter is a common ingredient in cakes and pastries. Who can resist a toast smothered with butter? A 100 gram serving of butter comprises of 15 grams saturated fat, contributing 257% of DV. Just a tablespoon of butter loads your body with 7 grams or 36% of the DV of saturated fat!
Cheese is a counterpart of butter which, though a good source of protein and calcium, is loaded with generous amounts of saturated fats. Hard goat cheese is particularly high in saturated fat with a 100 gram serving contributing 24 grams or 123% DV of saturated fat. Other varieties of cheese that contain saturated fat include Cheddar (105% DV), Fontina (96% DV), Gruyere, Muenster, Gjetost, parmesan and Monterey, (all contributing 95% DV of saturated fat) in a 100 gram serving.
4. Whipped Cream:
The delicious topping which is the life of cakes, coffees and pies is also a generous source of saturated fat. It comprises of nearly 14% saturated fat, providing 14 grams in 100 grams serving which is 69% of DV. Just a tablespoon of whipped cream can add up 2% of the DV of saturated fat.
5. Animal Fats:
These fats are widely used in preparing burgers, gravy, sausages, meatballs or fried foods. They are often criticized for being high in unhealthy saturated fats. They comprise of about 40% saturated fats, which means that a 100 gram serving can provide 35 to 45 grams or 108% to 225% of the DV of saturated fats. Bacon grease also comprises of 40% saturated fats, contributing 195% DV in a 100 gram serving.
6. Processed Meats:
Processed meats include sausages and pate, which contain a lot of animal fat. Sausages and pates comprise of nearly 15% saturated fats which indicates that a single serving of about 85 grams will contain 12.5 grams of saturated fats, contributing 63% of the DV.
7. Fish Oil:
Fish oil is another animal product that is high in saturated fat. Though, fish and fish oil are rich sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, these fats are coupled with saturated fats as well. Among the fish, those containing the highest amounts of saturated fats include sardine oils (30%), cod liver oil (23%), herring oil (21%) and salmon oil (20%). Hence, while consuming these fish and fish oils, their saturated fat content should be kept in mind. In other words, they should be consumed in moderation.
8. Dried Coconut:
Coconut is generally considered a healthy and versatile food. It is used in various forms for flavoring confectioneries like cakes and candies. Dried coconut, which is widely used for imparting a rich flavor to Asian curries and soups, is also a food with high saturated fats. A 100 gram serving of unsweetened dried coconut adds up to 57 grams of saturated fat, contributing 286% of the DV. The sweetened flake variety, on the other hand, contributes 26 grams or 132% DV which is nearly half the amount contained in its unsweetened counterpart. Raw coconut meat is also abundant in saturated fat with a 100 gram serving providing 27 grams or 148% of the DV of saturated fat.
9. Seeds and Nuts:
Being loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and healthy fats, seeds and nuts are generally considered a healthy snack food, especially in their dry roasted and unsalted forms. However, one cannot ignore the fact that they also contain saturated fats which is why excess consumption can do harm rather than good. Among the seeds and nuts, the highest sources of saturated fats are pilinuts which comprise of 13% saturated fats, contributing 156% of DV. Other nuts and seeds high in saturated fats include Brazil nuts (15%), Macadamia nuts (12%), watermelon seeds, cashews and pine nuts (10% each) and sesame seeds (9%).
10. Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate, though a delicious, nutritious and antioxidant packed food, is a high source of saturated fat. A serving of 100 grams pure baking chocolate contains 32 grams or 162% DV of saturated fat while a bar of milk chocolate contains 9.1 grams or 46% DV of saturated fat. Cocoa powder has comparatively much lesser amount comprising of less than 2% saturated fat. However, certain varieties of cocoa powder contain as much as 25% saturated fat so their nutrition labels should be carefully checked. Moderation in consumption is the key to reaping the benefits of dark chocolate and minimizing the adverse effects of saturated fat.
Do we spot a look of dismay at the thought of avoiding some of your favorite food? Don’t lose heart! You don’t need to give them up. Just make sure you consume these foods in moderation, and you’ll be fine! Does this list of foods high in saturated foods contain some of your favorite food ingredients? How often do you consume them? Did you know they can cause your health such harm?
Feel free to share your thoughts with us below!