Saturated fats often get grouped in with trans fats, but they’re not the same thing. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meats and dairy, as well as some tropical plant foods like coconut, says Naidoo.
While it was once believed that saturated fats should be strictly limited, recent research38 suggests that they may not be as harmful as previously thought, Scott explains.
“The current dietary guidelines recommend that you keep saturated fats to less than 10% of your calories. If you have heart disease, high cholesterol, or are at high risk of developing heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fats to 5% to 6% of your daily calories39,” says Scheinman.
When it comes to evaluating how healthy a food is, it’s also important to consider the quality of nutrition the food offers rather than just the leanness, Abby K. Cannon, J.D., R.D., CDN, previously pointed out to mindbodygreen. If a food is rich in vitamins and minerals and also contains some saturated fat (such as eggs, for example), it may be a better option than a food that has no fat but doesn’t provide much nutritional value either.
As with all foods, Naidoo recommends eating saturated fat in moderation and as part of a healthy balanced diet that is also rich in fruits and vegetables.