fats are high in calories, so it’s important to bear this in mind
if you are watching your weight.
However, in terms of your heart, it’s
important to think about the type of fat you are eating.
Swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats
Butter, lard, ghee, palm oil and coconut oil are all high in
Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can
increase the risk of developing coronary
Where possible replace saturated fats with small amounts of
Avoid trans fats
Avoid these wherever possible. These fats are
most likely to be found in foods such as biscuits, cakes, pastries
and deep fried foods.
Trans fats occur naturally in
small amounts in dairy foods and meat, however it is the
industrially produced trans fats which have a similar effect
to saturated fat, as they can increase the amount of cholesterol in
Have monounsaturated fats in small amounts
Have these in small amounts. Olive oil,
rapeseed oil and spreads which are made from these oils, as
well as some nuts and seeds, are all high in monunsaturated
fats. Monounsaturated fats can help to maintain healthy
Have polyunsaturated fats in small amounts
Have these in small amounts. Soya,
vegetable and sunflower oils, spreads made from these oils,
nuts and seeds like walnuts and sesame seeds, and oily
fish all contain polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated
fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and provide
essential fatty acids.
Saturated fat guidelines
At the moment UK guidelines encourage us to
swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. You might have seen
reports about a recent study we helped
to fund which suggests there’s not enough evidence to back the
current UK guidelines on the types of fat we eat. We think more research is needed before suggesting any
major changes to healthy eating guidance.
Top tips to help you reduce your saturated fat
- Swap butter, lard, ghee and coconut and palm
oils with small amounts of
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as
olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils and
- Choose lean cuts of meat and make sure you
trim any excess fat and remove the
skin from chicken and turkey.
- Instead of pouring oils straight from the bottle, use a
spray oil or measure out your
oils with a teaspoon.
- Read food labels to help
you make choices that are lower in
- Opt to grill, bake,
steam, boil or
poach your foods.
- Make your own salad dressings using
ingredients like balsamic vinegar, low fat yoghurt, lemon juice,
and herbs, with a dash of olive oil.
- Use semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed
milk rather than whole or condensed milk.
- Cottage cheese, ricotta and
extra light soft cheese are examples of low fat
cheese options. Remember that many cheeses are high in saturated
fat so keep your portions small - matchbox
sized. Opt for strongly flavoured varieties
and grate it to make a little go a long way.