In general, the main sources of saturated fat are from animal products: red meat and whole-milk dairy products, including cheese, sour cream, ice cream and butter. But there are also plant-based sources of saturated fat, principally coconut oil and coconut milk, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, and palm oil. And while you probably don’t go to the store and buy these—with the exception of coconut milk—these plant-based saturated fats crop up in a number of commercially prepared products. Cocoa butter is in chocolate. Coconut oil and palm oils are in anything from non-dairy whipped toppings and coffee creamers, to cookies and cakes.
Americans consume an average of 25.5 grams of saturated fat a day, which is 5-10 grams more than we should be eating. Saturated-fat intake is linked to high cholesterol and until recently, an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Quick Ways to Reduce Saturated Fat in Our Diet
- Substitute low-fat or fat-free versions of milk and dairy products for their full-fat counterparts
- Eat red meat only occasionally, choose lean cuts, and eat smaller portions of it
- Always remove the skin from poultry after cooking
- Eat fish at least twice a week
- Go meatless at least once a week
- Use liquid vegetable oils, such as canola or olive oil, over solid fats such as butter
- Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of fat-laden toppings and sauces
- Increase intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables
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