We advise people to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet and limit saturated fat consumption to less than 7 percent of total daily calories. One way to do this is to limit your consumption of foods containing tropical oils. A diet high in saturated fat tends to raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
What are "tropical oils"?
This term refers to coconut, palm kernel and palm oils. Like all fats and oils, these three oils contain various types of fatty acids. But unlike other plant oils, they contain a lot of saturated fatty acids. Coconut oil contains 92 percent, palm kernel oil has 82 percent and palm oil has 50 percent.
These oils are found mostly in commercial cakes, cookies and salty "snack foods," and need to be eaten in moderation.
Many questions remain about how various fatty acids affect blood fat (lipid) levels and the formation of blood clots. The American Heart Association's "Face The Fats" educational program has the information you need to make healthy fat choices, including:
- Which fats you should limit or avoid.
- Which are better for you than others.
- Which foods contain which types of fat.
- How many calories – and how much fat – you should eat each day.
- If foods labeled "trans fat-free" are always healthy.