Saturated Fats: Fats and Oils – conception and pregnancy diet

Saturated Fats: Fats and Oils – conception and pregnancy diet

Saturated fatty acids are one type of major energy sources in the American diet. All carbons are saturated with single bonds in their chemical structure. They are neutral for human health. Saturated fats themselves are neither as harmful as trans fats nor as protective as unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats were believed to cause heart disease and other health issues, but recent studies( 1, 2, 3) revealed that there is no direct link between undifferentiated saturated fatty acid intake with mortality caused by heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and infertility.

However, Palmitic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid commonly found in both animals and plants, was directly associated with mortality in a most recent cardiovascular health study. High palmitic acid intake ( 42% of total fat consumption) was also found to increase the risk of obesity and insulin resistance, both are the factors associated with women infertility. According to USDA Food Composition Database, palm oil, and palm shortenings contain a large amount of palmitic acid (from 36.5% to 42.5%).  It is recommended to avoid palm products added food to avoid excess palmitic acid intake.

Replace saturated fats intake with unsaturated

USDA dietary guidelines 2015-2020 suggest limiting saturated fats intake and consuming less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.

People can only consume a limited amount of food; hence higher saturated fatty acids intake may result in lower unsaturated acids intake. Deficiency of unsaturated fatty acids may lead to varieties of health issues, including infertility. While, increasing the intake of unsaturated fatty acids can bring lots of health benefits, such as support brain functions and neurodevelopment, boost the immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and promote reproductive health.

A Study of dietary fats and male fertility have proven Diets containing higher amounts of PUFAs and lower amounts of saturated fats were associated with more favorable semen quality parameters.

With the fact that unsaturated fatty acids are more beneficial, we recommend reduce saturated-fats intake and replace it with unsaturated-fats from both plant and animal food sources. According to USDA Food Composition Database, fat contents are mostly saturated fats in the following meats and oils.

  • beef products
  • dairy products ( including cheese and whole milk)
  • lamb products
  • pork
  • veal
  • nutmeg oil
  • babassu oil
  • soy oil
  • palm oil
  • shortening


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The information on this Web site is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child’s condition.

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