Saturated fat is a type of fat found in dietary substances.
All fat can be broken down into basically 3 major groups: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fat. Saturation refers to the fat molecule—a long hydrocarbon chain with occasional double bonds. A single double bond within the long chain of the fat molecule is considered monounsaturated. Saturated fat has no double bonds.
Polyunsaturated fats, like the word implies, have multiple double bonds. The amount of unsaturation is related to the amount of reactivity in the cell. A saturated fat molecule is much less reactive than a polyunsaturated fat molecule.
Why is saturated fat so important?
Lifestyle, of the atherosclerotic process. It is very clear that the more saturated fat within the diet, the higher the risk of developing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Thus, saturated fat restriction is of prime importance in preventing atherosclerosis.
How does saturated fat contribute to heart disease?
Saturated fat is found in high concentrations in the routine Western diet. Saturated fat is very easily metabolized into LDL cholesterol and consequently the LDL is elevated which raises the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
What foods are the richest sources of saturated fat?
The richest sources of saturated fat are mostly animal products– mostly animal fat (beef, pork, even chicken). Fish fat is much lower in saturated fat concentration. Plants usually do not have saturated fat. There are only two plant classes that have saturated fat— cocoa and palm. A very rich source of saturated fat is all dairy products. Choose non-fat or low fat dairy products. Therefore the recommendation to restrict all animal products is a way to markedly decrease the saturated fat content in the diet.
How important is saturated fat restriction to other risk interventions?
It is very important that any risk prevention strategy involve very strict saturated fat restriction. The American Heart Association allows 10 grams per day. A much more prudent recommendation is to follow as strict a saturated fat restricted diet as possible realizing that the Western diet is rife with saturated fat from multiple sources. Severe saturated fat restriction is vitally important and in any regimen to prevent atherosclerosis.
How do I restrict saturated fat?
Simply by restricting foods that are rich in saturated fat—mainly animal products (animal flesh and dairy products).