Saturated fats

Saturated fats are those that become hard at room temperature. They are found mostly in animal-based foods (such as meat, butter, milk, and cheese) and in coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.

Saturated fats should only be eaten in limited amounts because they harm blood vessels, which increases a person's risk for developing hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Saturated fats also affect the levels of cholesterol in the blood and increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Most of a person's fat calories should be from monounsaturated fats (such as from olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, and nuts) or polyunsaturated fats (such as from liquid vegetable oils, corn oil, or soybean oil).

Food labels usually show how many fat calories come from saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Last Updated: February 6, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator

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