Diane May Nutrition Blog

Whats the Deal with Saturated Fat

June 23rd, 2014

By now, everyone has heard the claims that they can eat all the butter, cheese and bacon they want. I have always been a proponent of moderation, and that no food is truly evil, but, I don’t think these headlines have sent the right message to the general public, so lets discuss what saturated fats are. Saturated fats are defined as: fats that have a chemical makeup in which the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms.  Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. So, now that you know what a saturated fat is, where do you find them?

  • Animal sources (such as lamb, beef, chicken)
  • Full fat dairy (such as cheese, whole milk, cream and butter)
  • Baked goods
  • Fried foods
  • Plant oils-palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil

According to the American Heart Association, you should limit your intake of saturated fat to 7% of your total daily calorie intake.  You should be having between 25-35% fat in your diet daily in total.  Fat is calorically dense so pay attention to the calories when consuming it.

Why is saturated fat bad for you?  It can elevate your total cholesterol and increase your risk of developing heart disease. So, have foods with saturated fat in moderation.

Why did all these articles come out in the media recently saying saturated fat is harmless and you could enjoy freely?  The Annals of Internal Medicine released a study in March entitled: Association and Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis.  I encourage you to read it sometime!  I want to just explain what a meta analysis is. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary a scientific meta analysis is: quantitative statistical analysis that is applied to separate but similar experiments of different and usually independent researchers and that involves pooling the data and using the pooled data to test the effectiveness of the results.  What does this really mean?  That the people doing the study just pulled data in a random way and there were significant errors with this research. Meta analysis are very good tools for drug trials, but not necessarily for nutrition or health related topics.

Can you eat saturated fat? The short answer is yes…in MODERATION  But in limited quantities.  Be smart.  To live a long, heart healthy life, the majority of your diet should be vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins.  If a nutrition headline sounds to good to be true, it probably is!


Whats the deal with saturated fat


Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

From EatingWell:  July/August 2008


This is a healthier version of a traditional cobbler, with canola oil in place of some of the butter and whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. Unlike more classic biscuit-topped cobblers, the peaches and blueberries are nestled into a tender batter that swells around the fruit as it bakes. Other fruits may be substituted. It’s especially beautiful when baked in and served right from a cast-iron skillet.


Makes: 10 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/4 hours


Low calorie | Low cholesterol | Low sodium |Healthy weight |

View Our Nutrition Guidelines »


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe but firm peaches, (about 1 pound), pitted and sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2 cups frozen
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh or frozen blueberries



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Heat in the oven until melted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, sugar and vanilla; stir to combine.
  4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries evenly over the batter.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the batter around the fruit is completely set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Per serving: 182 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 140 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 1/2 fat