As well as keeping an eye on the total amount of fat you eat, choosing the right type of fat is also important for heart health. Keep to a minimum the amount of saturated fats you have, by avoiding fats like butter and lard. Instead, choose unsaturated fats like spreads, olive and sunflower oils.
All fats and oils are high in calories so they should be used in small amounts. However, it’s important to know about the different types of fats and which foods they are found in.
Found in high amounts in fats like butter, lard and coconut oil. Saturated fat can increase total cholesterol and the harmful LDL cholesterol. This increases the risk of fatty deposits developing in your arteries.
The main sources of these fats in the diet are olive and rapeseed oil, as well as meat and some nuts and seeds. Monounsaturated fats can help lower the LDL cholesterol level.
Found in soya, sunflower, spreads, nuts, seeds and oily fish. They are an important part of the diet as they provide essential fatty acids.
Found in oily fish and are a particular type of polyunsaturated fat that can help protect heart health. Try and have at least one portion of oily fish a week.
Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in dairy foods and meat, but industrially produced trans fats are produced when oils are processed into a solid fat through the hydrogenation process. The trans fats formed this way have a different effect on the body to the original liquid oils and instead have a similar effect to saturated fats. The good news is that many food manufacturers now remove trans fats from the fats and oils they use.