Your body needs fat in order to maintain healthy daily functions and energy levels. However, too much fat can cause you to put on weight as well as increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s important to get clued up on which ones are doing the most harm.
Saturated fats have the worst track record, and the general advice to cut down on their consumption shouldn’t be taken lightly! Found in high-calorie food like meat, butter and cakes, it’s no surprise that there’s so many healthier alternatives available on the aisles. But what damage are they really doing to your body?
How much should I be consuming?
About a third of our energy should come from fat, 70g for a woman and 90g for men, although only about 25g should be from saturated fats. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s vital that you keep an eye on this by checking the food labels in the supermarkets, and try to cut out on saturated fats wherever possible – either by swapping them for unsaturated alternatives or trying to replace them with something else completely.
Top tip: Saturated fats are usually hard at room temperature, like butter and the fat on meat, whereas unsaturated fats are liquid like olive oil. Try to keep an eye out for this when searching for alternatives.
What are the main health concerns?
The main concern with saturated fat is that it dramatically raises your cholesterol. It starts to change the way that your liver processes nutrients, and makes it harder to break down the cholesterol that enters the body. If left unchecked, levels can get way out of balance and this causes cholesterol to build up in the blood. This can be extremely dangerous as time goes on, as your arteries can become blocked and in the most extreme cases can cause a clot that leads to a heart attack or stroke.
Remember to always use the traffic light coding when buying food at the supermarket, and check a few different options before you make a decision, you might be surprised at what you find!
Use the download below to help you with low-fat replacements.