KEEP Healthy

Understanding and Using Nutrition Food LabelsTest Your IQ: Choose the Sat Fat Culprit

Choose the sat fat culprit. Which of these fast foods, on average, contains the most saturated fat?

  1. Scoop of chocolate ice cream
  2. Single patty hamburger
  3. French fries

While all of these fast food items contain high total levels of fat (between 19-26 grams), the sat fat culprit in this case is the chocolate ice cream. It contains almost 16 grams of saturated fat in a regular, 1 scoop serving, followed by the hamburger which contains 8.6 grams and the French fries which contain 2.8 grams.

Saturated fats are found in animal based products such as meat, cheese and other dairy products. They are also found in some plant based products such as coconut and palm oils. Saturated fats can be damaging to the body when consumed in large quantities because they have been linked with heart disease and higher cholesterol levels. The French fries, derived from plant based potatoes, contain the fewest grams of saturated fat. While these are also high in calories and grams of total fat, because the French fries are made from potatoes which are plant based, they are lower in saturated fat. Diets higher in vegetables and plant based foods are often lower in saturated fat than those high in animal products. Processed French fries are typically very high in sodium. Make your own healthy fries at home by cutting up potatoes, baking them and using sodium-free seasoning instead of salt for flavor.

Eating and drinking premium, full fat dairy products such as cheese and ice cream can contribute to an increased amount of saturated fat in the diet. Try to watch your portions and consider sharing a dairy dessert with a friend to cut back on the amount of saturated fat that you’re eating. Another way to scale back is to choose lower fat dairy foods such as reduced fat milk, reduced fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. Whether eating out or shopping for groceries, do your best to compare options and evaluate nutrition information. In some cities nutritional facts are posted publicly in restaurants. Even if this information is not displayed prominently, ingredients and nutrition facts are typically available at fast food and chain restaurants if you ask to see them. Know the facts to make healthier choices!

Reference: USDA website nutrient data base (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/)

A cup of premium, chocolate ice cream (1 cup/148 grams)
377 kcal
25.13 g total fat of which 15.36 is saturated

Single Patty Hamburger (with condiments)
438 kcal
19.84 g fat of which 8.60 is saturated

French Fries (medium, fried in vegetable oil)
421 kcal
21.60g fat of which 2.79 is saturated

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