Saturated fat is a non-essential nutrient found in animal products and in coconut and palm oils. They are called saturated fats because hydrogen is attached to all of the available carbon bonding sites, saturating the fat molecule. This saturation is why these fats are solid at room temperature and less desirable than other fats in your diet. High intakes of saturated fat are linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To avoid these risks, limit calories obtained from saturated fats to between 7 percent and 10 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Locate saturated fat information on the nutrition facts label of your food. If there are saturated fats in the product, you can find the amount directly under the listing for total fat, calculated in grams.
Multiply the number of grams of saturated fat by nine, because there are nine calories in every gram of fat. By contrast, there are four calories in every gram of protein and carbohydrate.
Multiply the number of grams of trans fats by nine and add the result to the amount of saturated fat. Trans fats are artificially made saturated fats, so you should count calories from trans fats as saturated fat calories.
Add the total number of saturated fat calories from all the foods you consume in a day. To stay within government health guidelines for saturated fat intake, the total should be between 140 and 200 calories a day in a 2000-calorie diet.
If your saturated fat intake is too high, try replacing some saturated fat with unsaturated fat. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter or using vinegar-based salad dressings instead of cream-based dressings are simple substitutions to shift the balance of fat intake to more healthful fats.