It is important to have some fat in our diet because fat helps the body absorb some vitamins. It’s a good source of energy, and a source of the essential fatty acids that the body can’t make itself. However if we eat too much fat we will have more energy than we need, which means we will be more likely to put on weight.
Different sorts of fats
Although it is important to try to eat less fat, we also need to think about the different types of fat which we are eating. We should be cutting down on foods that are high in saturated fats or trans fats or replacing these foods with ones which are high in unsaturated fat instead. We should also be having more omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish.
Having too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which may increase the chance of developing heart disease.
These are all high in saturated fat:
Trans fats have a similar effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fats, they raise the type of cholesterol in the blood that increases the risk of heart disease.
Some evidence suggests that the effects of these trans fats may be worse than saturated fats. However, most people eat a lot more saturated fat than trans fats.
Trans fats can be formed when liquid vegetable oils are turned into solid fats through the process of hydrogenation. Foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oil, which must be listed in the ingredients list on the label, might also contain trans fats.
Trans fats are often found in these types of foods:
These sorts of food are usually high in saturated fat, sugar and salt so if you are trying to eat a healthy diet, you should try to keep these to a minimum.
Trans fats are also found naturally at very low levels in foods such as dairy products, beef and lamb.
Unsaturated fats can be a healthy choice. They don’t raise cholesterol in the same way as saturated fats. These types of fats provide us with the essential fatty acids that the body needs. These include the unsaturated fats found in oily fish, which may help prevent heart disease.
These are all high in unsaturated fat:
If you want to make a healthy choice, try to have more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats, this means you could choose:
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