Is saturated fat bad for me?

Eating a lot of saturated fat can increase the cholesterol in your blood. High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, which includes:

Cholesterol is a type of fat that your liver makes from the fatty food you eat.

Is all fat bad for me?

Your body needs small amounts of fat to help it work normally. However, some types of fat are healthier than others. There are two main types of fat in food:

  • saturated fat
  • unsaturated fat

It’s a good idea to eat less saturated fat, to reduce the health risks linked with high cholesterol levels.

Which foods contain saturated fat?

Saturated fat comes from foods such as:

  • butter, lard and ghee (oil made from butter)
  • fatty meats and meat products, such as sausages and pies
  • full fat milk
  • cream, sour cream, crème fraîche and ice cream
  • cheese, particularly hard cheese
  • some savoury snacks, such as some crisps
  • coconut oil, coconut cream and palm oil
  • biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • chocolates and some sweets 

Eating less saturated fat

If you do eat foods containing saturated fat, it’s a good idea to eat less of them.

Below are some tips to help you:

  • include less fat and less fatty foods in your diet
  • choose lean meat or skinless poultry instead of fatty meat or meat products
  • trim the fat off meat before you cook it
  • grill meat or cook it slowly in the oven instead of frying it
  • eat less pastry, cakes, biscuits and crisps 

You can also choose foods with lower levels of saturated fat, or foods that contain unsaturated fat. Read loads more information about foods with less saturated fat.

Further information:


Fat: the facts

In this video, learn about different types of fats, which ones are considered good or bad fats and how to identify them when shopping in the supermarket.

Media last reviewed:

Next review due:

Page last reviewed: 07/08/2013

Next review due: 06/08/2015