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Why is saturated fat bad for me?


Posted by Be Well

Why is saturated fat bad for me?
 
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A high intake of fat of all types, but particularly saturated fat, can increase the amount of cholesterol produced in your liver, and so the amount in your blood.

A high level of cholesterol in your blood is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential in small amounts for cells in your body (e.g. brain cells). It is only found in foods of animal origin, for example liver, egg yolk and shellfish.

Cholesterol is carried around the body in the blood by substances called lipoproteins (for example low density lipoprotein, LDL, and high density lipoprotein, HDL).

The lipoproteins also contain other types of fat. LDL is also called "bad cholesterol" because high levels of LDL in the blood lead to fat accumulating in and narrowing the vessel walls.

HDL is called "good cholesterol" because it retrieves cholesterol from body tissues and helps to transfer it to the liver for disposal.

The major sources of saturated fat in include:

  • cooking fats and spreads (e.g. butter, margarine, lard),
  • fatty meats and meat products, such as red meat and poultry skin,
  • full fat milk, cheese and other dairy products,
  • chips,
  • cookies, cakes & pastries, and
  • sweets and chocolate.

These all contribute to the cholesterol content of your diet. For most people, reducing their intake of saturated fat is more important than monitoring their dietary cholesterol intake.

Recommendations

  • Eat less fat and fatty foods.
  • Use vegetable oil that is high in unsaturated fat in cooking, but only in small amounts, for example olive oil or grapeseed oil.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week, of which one portion should be oily fish.
  • Choose lean meat, skinless poultry, beans and alternatives instead of fatty meat or meat products.
  • Choose low-fat dairy foods, like skimmed and low fat milk or low-fat yogurt.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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