Diet: when do saturated fats become unhealthy?

Diet: when do saturated fats become unhealthy?

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How many saturated fats are safe?

Saturated fats are found in many foods, but are generally considered unhealthy. They increase blood lipid levels and "bad" LDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. But are such fats generally always harmful or is there harmless consumption? A nutritionist explains.

Katherine Patton is a registered dietitian at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the United States. In a recent report from the clinic, the nutritionist explains how a healthy balance between saturated and unsaturated fats can be achieved. Because even the rather unhealthy saturated fats are harmless in the right ratio.

From the rain to the eaves

Studies and meta-analyzes in recent years have repeatedly shown that the consumption of saturated fats is associated with increased cholesterol levels and an increased risk of coronary heart diseases.

The food industry has also reacted to this and reduced more and more saturated fats in food. Often, however, more sugar or carbohydrates are added, which increases the number of calories. High sugar consumption can in turn lead to obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease. Patton therefore recommends not to rely on reduced-fat foods, but to replace saturated fats with vegetable proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Where are the saturated fats lurking?

"Try to find a balance and include a little more healthy fats in your diet," advises the nutritionist. The American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than six percent of your daily calories from saturated fats. Common sources are butter, cheese, dairy, poultry, pork, and coconut oil.

Better alternatives

Those who get too many calories from these sources should, according to Patton, replace some of such foods with healthier alternatives, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and vegetable protein sources such as beans, lentils and nuts.

Consume more unsaturated fats

In contrast to saturated fats, unsaturated fats are considered healthy and promote the cardiovascular system. Good sources of unsaturated fats include avocados, virgin olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon and herring, legumes such as beans and lentils, and nuts, especially walnuts and almonds. Patton recommends the Mediterranean diet as the basis for a healthy diet. This nutritional concept offers a good basis for a healthy and balanced diet.

The rule of thumb for fat balance

"We do not recommend completely avoiding saturated fats," Patton emphasizes. As long as only five to ten percent of the total calories come from such fats, this is harmless to health. However, one should also make sure that 20 to 25 percent of the daily calories are obtained from unsaturated fats, according to the dietitian. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek

Video: Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats: Theyre Good for You. Donald W. Miller, Jr.,. (August 2022).