Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy
Saturated fat, a type of fat that is solid at room temperature, can be found in some plant foods (for example, tropical plant oils like coconut oil), and many animal foods such as dairy products, eggs, and meat. Eggs also contain cholesterol, which worsens the effects of the saturated fat. Cutting down on animal products and eating a plant-based diet may help in reducing saturated fat and cholesterol intake.
Saturated fat is considered harmful to health. Studies have shown that high saturated fat intake may raise the risk of:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Colon cancer
- Coronary artery lesions
- Decreased male fertility
- Hardening of the arteries
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol levels
- Intestinal lining breakdown
- Kidney problems
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Periodontal disease
- Skin aging and wrinkling
Restricting saturated fat intake is a key part of the Swank diet, which has been used to help successfully treat many Multiple Sclerosis cases. Similarly, the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with lower cancer risk, has low amounts of saturated fat. One study found that for men who had their prostates removed for cancer, cutting down on saturated animal fat improved chances of cancer-free survival. In one breast cancer survival study, women who ate the most saturated fat after diagnosis increased the risk of dying by 41%.
Research suggests that swapping 1% of saturated fat calories in our diet for any other macronutrient can add nearly a whole year of aging length onto our telomeres. A low saturated diet, even for children, can help boost arterial function. Workplace programs in which, as one action, participants cut saturated fat intake, have seen positive results, including weight and cholesterol loss, as well as better blood sugar control in diabetics.
The meat, dairy, and egg industries have funded studies and undertaken campaigns designed to give the public the mistaken idea that foods with saturated fat are not harmful. At the Federal government level, though, the potential harm of saturated fat has been noted in the U.S. dietary guidelines starting with the first release in 1977. In 1980, the Guidelines directly stated that saturated fat should be avoided, and in 2010 they recommended reducing intake of saturated fat. In Finland, the use of science-based dietary guidelines for reducing saturated fat intake resulted in an 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country.
Popular Videos for Saturated Fat
All Videos for Saturated Fat
How to Prevent Alzheimer’s with Diet
What evidence is there that our meat-sweet diets play a cause-and-effect role in dementia?
Apple Peels Put to the Test for Chronic Joint Pain
Are the health benefits associated with apple consumption just due to other healthy behaviors among apple eaters?
Dining by Traffic Light: Green Is for Go, Red Is for Stop
A video explaining my traffic light system for ranking the relative healthfulness of Green Light vs. Yellow Light vs. Red Light foods.
Avocados Lower Small Dense LDL Cholesterol
What are the effects of oatmeal, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados on LDL cholesterol size?
Are Avocados Good for Your Cholesterol?
Can guacamole lower your cholesterol as well as other whole-food fat sources such as nuts, or is it just avocado industry spin?
Eczema Treatment with Coconut Oil, Mineral Oil vs. Vaseline
Natural topical remedies for eczema are put to the test, including licorice root gel, St. John’s Wort cream, and emollients such as coconut oil, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly.
Dr. Gundry’s The Plant Paradox is Wrong
A book purported to expose the “hidden dangers’ in healthy foods doesn’t even pass the whiff test.
Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer with Diet: Part 1
Dr. Dean Ornish showed that a plant-based diet and lifestyle program could apparently reverse the progression of prostate cancer, but that was for early stage, localized, watch-and-wait cancer. What about for more advanced stage life-threatening disease?
What About Coconuts, Coconut Milk, & Coconut Oil MCTs?
Do the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil, and the fiber in flaked coconut, counteract the negative effects on cholesterol and artery function?
Coconut Oil & the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol
The effects of coconut oil are compared to butter and tallow. Even if virgin coconut oil and other saturated fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol, isn’t that countered by the increase in HDL “good” cholesterol?
Do the Pros of Brown Rice Outweigh the Cons of Arsenic?
Are there unique benefits to brown rice that would justify keeping it in our diet despite the arsenic content?
Is White Rice a Yellow-Light or Red-Light Food?
Do the health benefits of rice consumption outweigh any potential risk from the arsenic contamination?