If you do any reading up on healthy eating., sooner or later you’ll encounter discussion about fat intake. And rightly so. Overweight and obesity levels in the UK mean that it is one of the world’s top ten countries for over eating.
Obesity brings with it a number of health risks including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So obviously its in all our personal interests to make sure we eat a healthy diet – and in the interest of the country as a whole that ways are sought to keep obesity levels down.
Now, fat consumption is of course only part of the story – so we’ll do a post on healthy carbohydrate intake in the near future.
Fat of course is not a bad thing in itself. Far from it – we all need some in our diet. Problems arise however when out diet is above the recommended number of calories. The NHS choices site says that average men need 2500 calories per day, while average women need 2000 in the course of a day. However this is only a guide since things like your actvity levels could affect the number of calories you need, for instance if you are a sportsperson. So, if you have questions about how much you should be eating per day in terms of energy intake, then it’s best to consult a health professional.
In terms of fats, one of the things to watch out for is intake of saturated fats – the kind found in cakes, meat products like sausages, and also in cheese and cream. This type of fat is one that – according to the NHS Choices site – we in the UK eat about a fifth more of than we should. Too much of this type of fat can raise blood cholesterol which in turn can increase risk of heart disease.
It’s a common misconception that raised blood cholesterol is caused by eating foods that contain it, however saturated fat intake that is too high has more of a bearing on blood cholesterol levels.
Unsaturated fats are a healthier choice – these are the ones found in olive oil and also oily fish. By aiming to replace saturated fat intake with unsaturated we can help keep within the healthy levels of intake for the latter type.