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Foods That Are Rich Sources of Saturated Fatty Acids

author image Josh Baum
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Foods That Are Rich Sources of Saturated Fatty Acids
Many edible oils are potent sources of saturated fatty acids. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Saturated fatty acids are long-chain acids that contain the maximum amount of hydrogen and carbon, according to the American Heart Association, and they are the main dietary causes of high cholesterol. Though many saturated fatty acids can be harmful in this way, some varieties known as essential fatty acids are actually helpful to cardiac health and must be consumed in moderate amounts because the body cannot produce them on its own, according to "Fatty Acids in Foods and Their Health Implications" by Ching Kuang Chow.

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Edible Oils

According to Chow, edible oils are among the richest sources of saturated fatty acids. The USDA reports that coconut oil contains 86.5 g of saturated fatty acid per 100 g. The respective value of saturated fatty acid in 100 g of hydrogenated palm kernel oil is 88.96 g, vegetable oil has 81.5 g and cottonseed oil has 25.9 g.

Fatty Meats

According to the USDA, 100 g of pan-fried bacon contains 13.291 g of saturated fatty acid. The bacon grease it produces contains 39 g per 100 g. The same amount of cooked beef sausage contains 10.9 g. Other processed meats are also generally high in saturated fatty acids, according to Chow. 100 g of beef bologna has 11.1 g of saturated fatty acid, and the same amount of canned luncheon meat contains 9.99 g.

Dairy Products

Chow states that many full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fatty acid, particularly butter, cheese and heavy cream. 100 g of butter contains 51.37 g of saturated fatty acid, and equal proportions of cheddar cheese and heavy cream have 21.09 g and 23.03 g, respectively.


Chocolate is another fatty food identified by Chow as being rich in saturated fatty acids. The USDA reports 100 g of milk chocolate candies as containing 18.5 g of saturated fatty acid, while dark chocolate containing 70 percent to 85 percent cacao bits contains 24.49 g.

Egg Yolks

Raw, fresh egg yolks contain 9.55 g of saturated fatty acids per 100 g, according to the USDA. Egg whites contain zero.

Solid Fats

Solid fats such as lard and vegetable oil shortening contain high levels of saturated fatty acids; 100 g of lard has 39.2 g, and the same amount of shortening has 40.3 g.

Fatty Fried Foods

Many foods that are fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils contain trans fats, types of saturated fatty acids, according to the American Heart Institute. Examples include onion rings, which contain 8.38 g of saturated fatty acids per 100 g, according to the USDA, and glazed doughnuts, which contain 5.44 g in equal amounts.

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