Do I need some saturated fats in my diet? If so how much?

Yes, saturated fats do have an important role in maintaining health; however, they are needed in limited amounts. Health organizations, such as the American Heart Association and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, have made recommendations to limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories in their approach to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve the lives of individuals with heart disease by using the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change diet. So, if you consume a 1,800-2,000 calorie diet that would be 126-140 calories or about 14-15 grams of saturated fat.

Saturated fat is found mostly in foods from animals and some plants. Foods from animals include beef, beef fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheeses and other dairy products made from whole and 2 percent milk. All of these foods also contain dietary cholesterol. Foods from plants that contain saturated fat include coconut, coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), and cocoa butter.

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