Simple Ways to Reduce Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is often portrayed as one of the bad guys in the world of fats, and with good reason. Diets that are high in saturated fats, also known as solid fats, raise total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease. [1,2]

Where are these fats found? Saturated fat can be found in butter, palm oils, high-fat cheeses and meats, and whole-fat milk and creams. [1,2]

You don’t have to avoid foods with saturated fat altogether. Instead, eat them less often, or find lower-fat versions of foods that naturally contain saturated fats. Your daily saturated fat intake should be less than 7% of your total calories per day, and your trans fat intake should be less than 1%, according to the American Heart Association. For most people, that means consuming 15g or less of saturated fat each day. [2]

Here are some easy ways to slash saturated fat from your diet and help keep your heart healthy:

Lighten up breakfast:Opt for 1% or fat-free milk when choosing what to splash over your morning cereal. [1] Choose a cereal that’s high in fiber for an even more heart-healthy way to start the day. [3]

Oil up:Swapping out butter for olive oil is an easy way to lower the saturated fat in your diet, no matter what you’re cooking. Plus, olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can boost good HDL cholesterol. [4,5]

Try “Meatless Mondays”:To eat less high-fat meat, try devoting one night a week to a vegetarian dinner.

Snack smart:
When midday hunger strikes, we’re often tempted to reach for a high-fat snack to satisfy our cravings (like potato chips or donuts). To avoid falling into a saturated-fat trap when hunger hits, go for foods that are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. For example, keeping nuts on hand as a snack is a great way to avoid saturated fat while filling up on healthy fat. [5] Just be sure to keep your serving size in check because nuts can be high in both calories and fat. A serving of nuts is just one ounce (about a small handful). For example, a serving of almonds (22 nuts) contains 169 calories and nearly 15 grams of fat. [8]

Other tasty snacks that are high in satisfying monounsaturated fats: guacamole, natural peanut or almond butter, [5] and dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa). [6,7] Just like nuts, these foods are high in calories and fat, so be mindful of your portion sizes. [5,6,7,9]


1. CDC: Saturated Fats

Acessed 7/3/2013

2. American Heart Association: Know Your Fats

Acessed 7/3/2013

3. American Heart Association: Whole Grains and Fiber

Acessed 7/3/2013

4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: All About Oils

Acessed 7/3/2013

5. CDC Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats

Acessed 7/3/2013

6. Cleveland Clinic: Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate Unveiled

Acessed 7/3/2013

7. University of Michigan Integrative Medicine

Acessed 7/3/2013

8. USDA Database: Almonds

Accessed 8/6/2013

9. American Heart Association: Fats 101

Acessed 8/6/2013 
by the Publishers of Prevention