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Functions of saturated fatty acids

Saturated Fatty Acids Saturated fats have a chemical makeup in which the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Because our body can make saturated fats, they are called non-essential fatty acids.

Where are saturated fats found

Saturated fats are predominantly found in animal products and animal by-products with high amounts of dairy fat like butter, cheese and cream. Saturated fat can also be found in some vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oil.

Functions of fatty saturated fatty acids

Fats in general, including saturated fatty acids, play a role in providing desirable texture and palatability to foods used in the diet.

Saturated fatty acids & health

Saturated fats are considered ‘bad’ fats mainly because they can increase bad or LDL cholesterol levels. However, some saturated fats increase risk of heart disease more than others. To reduce saturated fats, choose low fat dairy products and lean meats and replace butter/cream with monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil.

How much do we need

Since saturated fats are non-essential, we do not require any saturated fats in our diet. The American Heart Association recommends that we limit saturated fats to less than 7% of total calories in a day. For a 2000 calorie diet, that translates to less than 16 g per day.

Sources of saturated fat
Product Amount Saturated Fat Content
Ground Beef 100 g 8.8 g
Butter 1 Tbsp 7.3 g
Whole Milk 1 cup 4.5 g
Vanilla Ice cream ½ cup 4.5 g
Cheese 30 g 3.7 g
Cream 2 Tbsp 2.2 g

Source: USDA Nutritive Value of Foods

Saturated fats at Nestlé

The goal of Nestlé is to reduce the level of Saturated and Trans fats in products over time where achievable without significantly altering the expected characteristics of the product by consumers. At Nestlé Canada, we have already taken several steps to reduce Saturated Fatty Acids in many of our products. Some of these changes include removing over 7 million teaspoons of saturated fat from Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine entrées.