How bad can it be to indulge in an occasional meal or snack loaded with saturated fat? How about bad enough to diminish your body's ability to defend itself against heart disease.
Saturated fat the unhealthy choice
"Saturated-fat meals might predispose to inflammation of, and plaque build-up in, the vessels," said study leader Dr David Celermajer, Scandrett professor of cardiology at the Heart Research Institute and the Department of Cardiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
High-fat meals may be dangerous
Before and after each of the meals, the researchers obtained blood samples from the participants so they could evaluate whether the anti-inflammatory properties of the so-called good HDL cholesterol had decreased.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Cut down on fat
To do that, you've first got to know where saturated fat lurks, said Jeannie Moloo, a Californian dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Eat less saturated fat
How much saturated fat per day is too much? Aim for 10 percent or less of your daily calories from saturated fat, Moloo suggested. The American Heart Association sets the bar for saturated fat at less than seven percent of daily calories.
Tips on low-fat choices
Fatty acids - saturated, unsaturated and trans fatty acids