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Fats make up an important part of your diet. They serve as a potential source of energy and fuel for your cells, and some types play a role in the health of your brain, heart and blood vessels. The fats and oils you consume contain molecules called fatty acids, with each food source often containing a range of types of fatty acids. One type of saturated fatty acid present in many common foods is palmitic acid 1.
One source of palmitic acid is meat, including poultry, beef and game meats. The amount if palmitic acid found in the meat depends on its source as well as the method used to prepare the food. Fatty cuts of red meat, as well as skin-on poultry, typically contain relatively high levels of saturated fat and contain large amounts of palmitic acid. To lower your palmitic acid intake when consuming meat, remove any the skin and visible fat from the meat, and select lean cuts of red meat.
Another dietary source of palmitic acid is dairy. Cow's milk naturally contains saturated fatty acids, so both the milk itself and foods made from the milk typically contain palmitic acid. Foods such as ice cream or butter can prove especially rich sources of the fatty acid, as these foods contain high levels of dairy fat. To prevent overconsumption of palmitic acid when consuming dairy products, choose low-fat options such as reduced fat or skim milk.
Palm Oil and Other Plant Oils
Palmitic acid also is found in some plant oils. Among these is palm oil, extracted from palm tree fruit. As a result of their saturated fatty acid content, many palm and coconut oils appear solid at room temperature and only take on liquid form at higher temperatures. Several other plant oils, including soybean, olive, corn and peanut oils, contain very small amounts of palmitic acid.
Excessive palmitic acid consumption can have a negative effect on your health. As a saturated fat, it can raise the levels of low-density cholesterol in your bloodstream. To help limit the negative effects of palmitic acid, as well as other saturated fats, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends limiting your saturated fat consumption to less than 7 percent of your caloric intake. Instead of consuming butter and other foods rich in palmitic acid, choose vegetable oils with low palmitic acid content.
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