What Is Saturated Fat?

Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and comes mainly from animal products, such as meat and dairy foods.

Saturated fat raises our LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and is associated with coronary heart disease and strokes.

Foods high in saturated fat include butter, meat, cheese, milk, cream, ice cream and a wide range of cakes, cookies and chocolate. Including a small amount of foods high in saturated fat is useful as these foods are the best sources of the fat soluable vitamins A and D. However, most of us consume fat too much.

For detailed information about fats in our diet, see Dietary Fat

Why is Saturated Fat Harmful?

In simple terms, saturated fat is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. It’s worth remembering that the body can manufacture its own saturated fat so we don’t actually need to include ANY saturated fat in our diet.

The full story about saturated fat and heart disease is very complex and much of it remains a mystery.

Saturated Fat & Cholesterol – Only Part of the Story

We know that diets high in saturated fat (or high-glycemic index carbs) lead to an increased production of acetate fragments in the body, which usually raise the production of cholesterol.

But increased cholesterol is only part of the story. Although we know that cholesterol is the main component of arterial plaque – the stuff causes a narrowing of arteries [atherosclerosis] – we don’t know exactly what causes arterial blockages, or why some people who eat large amounts of saturated fat have comparitively healthy arteries.


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