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Saturated Fat: Healthy or Harmful?

Steak with healthy side dishes as addition

Some say saturated fat—found in coconut, chocolate, butter, and fattier cuts of meat—is terrible for your health, gumming up your arteries and leading to heart attacks.

Others say caution is outdated—and even advise you to eat more of it.

But what does the research say?

In a nutshell:

1. When consumed in excess, saturated fats increase cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular events.


2. Saturated fats don’t increase your risk of dying.

The truth is, saturated fat is neither all bad nor completely harmless.

Rather, it’s a matter of consuming saturated fats in the appropriate doses in the right context.

In fact, if you’re eating a balanced whole-foods diet and you’re not eating excess calories, you probably don’t need to worry about your saturated fat intake.

A good general guideline:

Keep saturated fats to about 10 percent or less of total daily calories to reduce the risk of negative health effects.

It’s worth noting: Trans fatty acids are the bigger concern. They’re directly linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and allergy.

The good news: These kinds of trans fatty acids are primarily found in packaged foods and must be listed on nutrition labels. (Ideally, you want to choose products that contain 0 grams.)

Want help from a certified PF Coach to design a custom nutrition plan to help you lose weight and get healthier? Start with us today!