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How to cut down on saturated fats

The excellent UK Food Standards Agency  has recently launched a campaign (see the TV ad) to encourage people to cut down their intake of saturated fats.  As the FSA points out on their webpage about saturated fats most people in the UK eat about 20% more than the maximum recommended amount.  They list examples of foods that are high in saturated fats, including:

  • fatty cuts of meat and meat products such as sausages and pies
  • butter, ghee and lard
  • cream, soured cream, crème fraîche and ice cream
  • cheese, particularly hard cheese
  • pastries
  • cakes and biscuits
  • some savoury snacks
  • some sweet snacks and chocolate
  • coconut oil, coconut cream and palm oil

The FSA recommend checking food labels for saturated fat content.  More than 5gm of saturated fat per 100gm of the food is a high level, while less than 1.5gm per 100gm is low.  Their ten tips to help reduce your saturated fat intake are:

Choose lower-fat dairy products. Try 1% fat milk and low-fat yoghurts. Look out for cheese that is lower in fat.

Grate cheese instead of slicing - this can help you eat less of it. And when you're shopping, compare the labels on different cheeses to see which contain less fat.

Eat chicken without the skin. And when you're cooking chicken, go easy with the creamy sauces - try a bit of lemon and some herbs instead.

Use leaner mince. Check the labels on minced beef and choose the option that is lower in fat. Or try using turkey mince, which is even leaner.

Trim the fat off meat. And try grilling meat instead of frying.

Compare labels and choose the option that is lower in saturated fat.

Eat less pastry. Pastry is high in saturated fat, so try not to have pies, pastries and sausage rolls too often. And go for pies with just a lid or a base.

When you're cooking, use unsaturated oils such as sunflower, olive and rapeseed, instead of butter, lard and ghee.

Eat healthier snacks when you're on the go. Many snacks can be high in saturated fat, so pick up an apple, some dried fruit, or another healthy option. Check the label and choose food that is lower in saturates.

Eat more balanced meals. To get the balance right, eat lots of fruit and vegetables and plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods. These are low in saturated fat, so they help make your meals healthier.

They also have useful ideas on swapping specific higher fat foods for lower fat ones.  With their many other more general ideas for eating healthily, this site is trustworthy and well worth a visit.


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