4 ways to reduce your saturated fat intake

Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Author Alex Auld

Woman preparing seeds and nuts to snack on

The FitnessGenes Saturated Fat Response trait explores how a certain variant of the APOA2 gene can heighten the risk of weight gain for carriers who consume a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, research has found that people with this risk genotype have a 1.84x higher chance of becoming obese compared to others.

However, this risk is dependent on carriers consuming more than 10% of their total daily calories from sources of saturated fat, such as fatty meat, dairy products, sweet treats, and tropical oils such as palm and coconut oil.

So, if you discover that you need to limit your saturated fat intake, here are 4 immediate actions you can take to achieve just that.


1. Out of the frying pan...

When cooking, turn off the hob and turn to the oven instead. Choosing to bake and grill foods rather than fry them can reduce the fat content of your meals as these methods are often less reliant on cooking oils. Any additional cooking oil that is required while cooking can increase both the saturated fat content of the meal but also the total calories consumed.

On a practical note, baking and grilling also allow you to batch cook meals for subsequent days, saving your future self both time and money (and who doesn’t need more of both!).


2. Choose your oils carefully

We’re not advocating for a completely oil free existence, as it certainly can improve the quality of your meals and add flavour. However, some oils have a much greater saturated fat content compared to alternatives.

Try to avoid butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil and opt for nut or seed oils instead, such as olive, sunflower, walnut and rapeseed oil. As well as being lower in saturated fat, these alternatives are high in unsaturated fats, which can help to improve cardiovascular health. 

When using any oil, be sure to measure it out to monitor the amount of saturated fat and calories they add to a meal. Even slightly too much oil over time can have an accumulative effect on your health and body composition.


3. Cook with lentils and kidney beans

For a lot of us, a primary source of saturated fat are fatty cuts of meat, such as beef, sausages, and bacon. If you find that you’re having meat with most evening meals, consider swapping a couple of them for bean or lentil-based alternatives.

As well as removing the saturated fat sauce, these alternatives can be a great source of fibre and protein, which will help you feel fuller for longer, build muscle, and regulate your body weight.


4. Snack like a squirrel

When hunger strikes between meals, (or more often when we’re looking to distract ourselves from something more productive), it can be easy to open a packet of crisps or check the biscuit tin.

Instead, keep a store of sunflower seeds or almonds close by as a snack alternative. Much like with oil alternatives, nuts and seeds are high in healthier unsaturated fats, providing the double benefit of limiting saturated fat intake while promoting cardiovascular health. Aim for 28g of seeds or nuts a day for the greatest health benefit.


Discover more ways to reduce your saturated fat intake

Want to discover if you have an increased need to limit your saturated fat intake? Become a FitnessGenes member by purchasing your DNA analysis or DNA upload product today to unlock Saturated Fat Response alongside 120+ more health and fitness-related traits.


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