Healthy Tip: Understanding Dietary Fats

A small quantity of fat is an important part of a healthy diet, but not all fats are the same. Saturated and trans fats can raise ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood, increasing your risk of heart disease. Here are some tips to help you manage the amount and type of fat in your diet.

Choose products with a lower total fat content

All fats are high in energy and too much can lead to weight gain. By reading the fat content on food labels you can choose products that are lower in fat. For example, you could switch from cheddar cheese (34g fat per 100g) to low-fat cheese spread (11g fat per 100g) or cottage cheese (5g per 100g).

Switch from saturated and trans fats to unsaturated fat

Foods high in saturated fat include fatty meats, hard cheeses, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, lard and cream. Trans fat is present in hard margarine, fried food, biscuits, cakes and pastries. Saturated and trans fats can increase the ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body, increasing your risk of heart disease. Look after your heart by switching to unsaturated fats, such as oily fish such (e.g. salmon, mackerel and sardines), rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, unsalted nuts, seeds and avocados.

Find healthier cooking methods

If you fry your food, why not try baking, grilling, boiling or steaming instead? Rather than roasting potatoes in fat, switch to boiled new potatoes or a baked potato. Cut away visible fat from fatty meats, such as bacon and lamb. Use a small amount of unsaturated oil for cooking, such as rapeseed oil, rather than butter, ghee, lard or goose fat.


By cutting down on the amount of fat in your diet and switching from saturated or trans fats to unsaturated fats, you will take an important step towards reducing your risk of heart disease.

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