Nutritional guidelines have been changing in recent years, and our beliefs about some foods and nutrients have been modified. Our long-held ideas about saturated fats, however, have been confirmed by recent research. Saturated fats have been considered nutritionally harmful for many years for numerous reasons, and new studies indicate that they are a primary culprit not only in heart disease, but some cancers as well. But, with another nutrient, iron, we have recently found that too much of a good thing is bad. Iron has been recognized as an essential mineral for decades. Unfortunately, it also can cause damage to the body.
From a health perspective, there really is nothing good to say about saturated fats (SF). There are several varieties of fat, and the saturated version is so-named because it is saturated with hydrogen atoms . Sources of SF in many people’s diets include whole milk, butter, cheese, red meat, chocolate, egg yokes, ice cream, and coconut oil . One of the primary downsides of SF is its impact on heart disease. It increases the level of LDL (so-called “bad”) cholesterol in the body. LDL cholesterol damages blood vessels and also clogs them with plaque. This can cause heart attacks . In the newest model of heart disease, pockets of plaque can rupture and suddenly block an artery, resulting in a heart attack in a seemingly healthy person . Furthermore, SF has been linked to cancer. A recent study indicates that high consumption levels of SF can increase the risk of breast cancer by 20 percent. Nutritionists state that no more than 30 percent of out diet should consist of fat and that no more than 10 percent of that should be SF. The best way to replace SF is to eat foods high in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil peanut oil, almonds, nuts, peanut butter, and avocados . Limiting meat consumption, especially red meats, is another way to reduce SF intake. Dietitians suggest viewing meats as side items rather than main dishes. Some meals should be completely meatless, and when meat is eaten, it should be lean, with excess fat trimmed off .