Saturated fats raise both the total cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol. Eating less saturated fat is one of the most important things you can do for your heart, but knowing where it’s found requires a little homework. Saturated fats predominate in animal fats such as butter, cream, cheese, fat on meat, deli meats (salami, bacon, sausages and so on) and in commercial shortenings used to make cakes, biscuits, pastries, confectionery and fried take-away food. Coconut and palm oil, although vegetable in origin, are also high in saturated fatty acids. Dietary guidelines recommend that we reduce saturated fats to less than 10 per cent of the total kilojoules consumed.
Trans fats are similar to saturated fats and also raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. A natural component of animal fat, trans fatty acids are found in all meat and milk products but at low levels. However, trans fats can also be made synthetically during hydrogenation, so they may occur in commercially produced biscuits, cakes, snack foods and fried foods, if these products have been made using hydrogenated fats.