Campus alert status is yellow: For the latest campus alert status, news and resources, visit umassmed.edu/coronavirus

Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

Tips on Reducing Saturated Fat

Research studies have shown that diets high in saturated fat can cause inflammation in the body and is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. For the prevention of chronic disease, saturated fats should be replaced with unsaturated heart-healthy fats.1 The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that saturated fat intake is less than 10% of total calories per day.2

High amounts of saturated fat are found in:
• Vegetable oils (i.e. palm, palm kernel, coconut)
• Butter, shortenings, & lard
• High-fat animal products (beef, pork, sausage, processed meats, poultry, etc.)
• Full-fat dairy (cheese, heavy cream, whole milk, ice cream)
• Desserts & baked goods
• Condensed milk and coconut milk
• Fast food and mixed dishes (pizza, chicken alfredo, cheeseburgers, etc.)
• Fried foods (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, etc.)

Beneficial fats are unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids).
• Examples include olive oil, avocado oil, legumes, nuts/seeds, fish, even dark leafy greens & avocados.

How to reduce saturated fats:
• Read nutrition labels! Compare different labels and choose the product with less saturated fat.
• Remove skin off poultry and other meats before cooking.
• Choose leaner cuts of meat, with less visible fat and ground meats with lower percentages of fat (i.e. 90-95% lean).
• Swap out cured deli meats (such as salami, pepperoni, bologna, etc.) with healthier options such as No Salt Added tuna, salmon, or skinless baked chicken.
• Instead of frying foods with butter or palm oils, try baking or sautéing foods in olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil.
• To reduce butter in dishes, try adding spices, herbs, and garlic to flavor the meal.
• Avocado can be used in sandwiches or on toast, in place of mayonnaise, butter, or margarines.
• Limit portions of full-fat dairy products (yogurt, whole milk, cream) or swap with lower fat dairy or non-dairy alternatives, such as unsweetened almond milk.
• To add creaminess, low-fat plain yogurt can be used instead of sour cream.
• Reduce intake of rich desserts by choosing fresh fruit.

References:
1. Zong, G., Li, Y., Wanders, A. J., Alssema, M., Zock, P. L., Willett, W. C., . . . Sun, Q. (2016). Intake of individual saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: Two prospective longitudinal cohort studies. Bmj,I5796. doi:10.1136/bmj.i5796
2. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). 2020. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.