Common Foods High In Saturated Fat You Should Limit

Low-carb diets include a lot of protein.
Low-carb diets include a lot of protein. Andrew Unangst/Getty Images

When following a cholesterol-lowering diet, you may want to limit foods high in saturated fat. Regularly consuming foods high in saturated fat can cause:

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends your saturated fat intake be less than 7 percent of your total food intake daily. That is, if you are following a 2,000-calorie diet, you should not consume more than 14 grams of saturated fat each day.

Many animal products and some vegetable products contain high amounts of saturated fat, and you should watch your intake closely if you are trying to lower your cholesterol.

Red Meat Is High in Saturated Fats

Meat from cows and pigs is high in saturated fat. Although following a cholesterol-lowering diet does not ban you from eating animal meat entirely, it can add up if you consume these products at every meal. 

Limiting your intake of meat is an easy way to lower your intake of saturated fat, and learn tips for eating meat on a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Protein Lower In Saturated Fat

Eat poultry, such as chicken or turkey, as a substitute for red meat because it has less saturated fat than beef or pork, especially if you don't eat the skin.

If you want to cut saturated fat from your diet in a more substantial way, you can get protein from fish, beans, or soy products. Also, read tips for adding meat substituted to your cholesterol-lowering diet.

Dairy Products

Dairy products also introduce additional saturated fat into your diet, including:

  • Cheeses
  • milk
  • Sour cream
  • Ice cream

Not only can consuming dairy products increase your saturated fat intake, you should also worry about the amounts of dairy that are not so obvious – such as being added your favorite foods or beverages – since they, too, can add up.

To minimize the amount of saturated fat you eat, select low-fat varieties of your favorite dairy foods, usually labeled as being “low fat”, “skim” or “part skim” on their packaging.

Fats and Oils

Although various spreads and oils are not something you would consume alone, they are often included in a variety of foods during preparation. Some of these fats, such as cream-based salad dressings and cooking oils, can take otherwise healthy, low-fat dishes containing low-fat veggies or fish and turn them into a high-fat nightmare.

High saturated fat foods in this category include:

  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Certain oils (such as palm oil)
  • Cream-based dressings or dips
  • Mayonnaise

More Tips for Reducing Saturated Fat in Your Diet

Changing the way you prepare your meals can help reduce your saturated fat intake. For example, you can bake your chicken rather than fry it, or steam your fish instead of sauteing it.

Additionally, using phytosterol-based spreads, oils higher in unsaturated fats (such as olive oil or vegetable oil), or reduced-fat varieties of dressings or dips can also prevent introducing excess saturated fat into your diet.

If you are ever in doubt about whether or not your favorite foods contain saturated fat, you should check the nutrition label, usually located on the back of the package.


Rolfes SR, Whitney E. Understanding Nutrition, 13thed 2013

Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (PDF), July 2004, The National Institutes of Health: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Continue Reading