The Disadvantages of High Saturated Fat Levels

Not all fats are bad for your health. Although fat helps keep your hair and skin healthy and is also an essential part of a nutritious diet, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends limiting your consumption of saturated fats, a type of fat that can increase your risk of developing health problems such as cancer, heart disease and obesity 13. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your diet.

Saturated Fats

Most saturated fats come from animal sources like red meat and butter and are solid at room temperature. These fats can raise low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels in the body. High levels of LDL in the bloodstream put you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Diets that contain too much saturated fat are linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your consumption to no more than 7 percent of your daily calorie intake 12.

Heart Disease

The American Heart Association states that eating foods that contain a high amount of saturated fat raises the level of cholesterol in your bloodstream 12. Too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can lead to clogged arteries and can greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease. A July 2011 issue of the "Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" featured the results of a study conducted at Norwich Medical School, which concluded that subjects who reduced their saturated fat intake cut their risk of developing heart disease by 14 percent 6.


People with diets that contain a high level of saturated fats are at a higher risk of developing breast, colon and prostate cancer. The July 2003 issue of the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" featured a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health 34. The study revealed that women who consumed more fats from animals and red meat showed an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Similar studies conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health have related animal fat consumption to increased risk of both prostate and colon cancer 3.


The American Heart Association defines obesity as having a body mass index of 30 or higher 12. Obesity affects 60 to 70 percent of Americans and greatly increases your risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A variety of factors can cause obesity, one being excessive intake of saturated fats, the American Heart Association says 12.