National Nutrition Month®: Reducing Saturated Fats to ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’

March is National Nutrition Month®! This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” while still following a healthy eating pattern.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the amount of added sugar, sodium and saturated fats that you eat. Limiting these components can help meet food group and nutrient needs within your recommend calorie limit for weight management [1].

Today we are going to take a closer look at reducing saturated fats!

What are Saturated Fats?

Saturated fats  are generally solid at room temperature and come mostly from animal products, with the exception of tropical oils like coconut oil and palm oil [2]. 

CoconutOil

Foods that are high in saturated fat include:

  • Beef, pork, lamb, veal, and skin of poultry
  • Hot dogs, bologna, salami
  • High fat dairy products 
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Tropical oils 

The Ugly Side of Saturated Fat Intake

The 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of calories from saturated fat to less than 10 percent of total calories per day  [1].  This is partially due to the fact that consuming too much saturated fat has been linked with internal inflammation and high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. 

Alternatives to Saturated Fats

In place of saturated fats, try unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats as part of a healthy diet.

These fats have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and include [2]:  

Food with unsaturated fats

  • Olive and canola oil
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Safflower and sunflower oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, etc.)

Grocery Store Tip: Unsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature

Weight Management and Fat Intake 

Fat, whether from plant or animal sources, contains more than twice the number of calories of an equal amount of carbohydrates or proteins. This means that a diet that is high in fat without any other dietary caloric reductions can lead to weight gain. However, watching how many calories you eat, reducing high fat foods and becoming familiar with appropriate portions size can help prevent weight gain [2]. 

Challenge 

Choose one tip to try this week to reduce YOUR saturated fat intake [2,3]:  

  • Choose skim or 1% milk in place of whole or 2% milk 
  • Limit your portion of protein to about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
  • Sprinkle lemon juice and herbs/spices on cooked vegetables instead of using cheese, butter, or cream-based sauces
  • When eating out, request a salad with oil and vinegar or salad dressing on the side 
  • Refrigerate soups, gravies, and stews, and remove the hardened fat before eating

 

To find out more about how you can reduce your saturated fat intake, contact a Registered Dietitian in your area, the Idaho Nutrition Experts.

The Academy’s website (eatright.org) includes helpful articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers are also encouraged to follow National Nutrition Month® on the Academy’s social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using the #NationalNutritionMonth hashtag.

 

What do you do to reduce your saturated fat intake?

Rachelle Ausman, RDN, LD, CHC

 

Resources:

  1. “Key Recommendations: Components of Healthy Eating Patterns.”Health.gov. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2016<http%3A%2F%2Fhealth.gov%2Fdietaryguidelines%2F2015%2Fguidelines%2Fchapter-1%2Fkey-recommendations%2F>
  2. “Reducing Fat Intake.” Reducing Fat Intake. 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.<https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/getting_fit/hic_Maintaining_a_Healthy_Weight/hic_Reducing_Fat_Intake>
  3. “Prepare Heart-Healthy Foods for Your Family.” Www.eatright.org. Sept. 2015. Web. 13 Mar. 2016
  4. “Frequently Asked Questions About Saturated Fats.” Frequently Asked Questions About Saturated Fats. Web. 13 Mar. 2016. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Saturated-Fats_UCM_463756_Article.jsp#.VuYJl_krKUk> 
  5. Images from eatright.org
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