Eating the right kinds of fat can play an important part in helping you stay the right weight for your height. By knowing more about the different types of fat you’re eating, it’s easier to understand which foods are good for you and which ones aren’t.
Our bodies treat fat like a long-term fuel reserve – it’s stored in the thick layer of tissue under our skin. It also helps us protect our vital organs and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A,D, E and K. Some fatty acids (EFAs) are essential for healthy living, but these can’t be produced by our own bodies.
Problems arise when we eat too much. The body stores the excess calories as fat for later use, which can lead to large deposits around the organs, especially those in your abdominal cavity. But the main problem is the potential for an increase in your cholesterol levels, and a greater risk of heart disease and strokes. Understanding different kinds of fat will help you reduce ‘bad’ fats but include ‘good’ fats in a healthy, balanced diet:
Fats should make up no more than 35% of the energy or calories in your diet, according to Government guidelines. Of that amount, saturated fats (things like chocolate and cakes), should provide less than 11% of your total energy intake.
With ‘traffic-light’ labelling appearing on foods today, it’s much easier to keep an eye on the kinds of fat we’re consuming – and how much of that is saturated. The secret to a low-fat diet is to switch foods with a ‘bad’ fat for those that are just as tasty, but made with polyunsaturates or mono-unsaturated fats.
There are some simple ways to reduce ‘bad’ fats in your diet and improve your health. You may find that thinking about your fat intake means you discover new foods that are even tastier than chips, cakes or biscuits. If you have health concerns we recommend a check-up with your GP before undertaking any changes to your normal diet or exercise plan.
Read more about Cholesterol.