Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why saturated fat is bad for you

saturated fat
Meat is healthier grilled rather than fried
Fat is an essential part of the diet, but lots of people eat more fat than they need or is good for them.
In particular, saturated fats are dangerous because they raise 'bad' cholesterol and can block up the arteries to the heart.
Having too much harmful cholesterol in the blood increase the risk of coronary heart disease - the biggest killer in the UK.
The Food Standards Agency hopes to cut everyone's saturated fat intake by 20%.
This could prevent up to 3,500 premature deaths a year, says the government watchdog.
What is 'good' and 'bad' fat?
We all need to eat fat as part of a healthy diet. 'Good' fats include omega-3 fatty acids, found particularly in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon and swordfish; and omega-6 fats found in olives, nuts, seeds and seed oils, and many vegetables and grains.
These help keep our arteries healthy and raise levels of beneficial HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
'Bad' fats are saturated fats - hard fats found mainly in animal products such as red meat, butter and full-fat cheeses; and 'trans-fats' (fats that have been solidified by the process of hydrogenation) found in processed foods such as many margarines, biscuits, cakes and pies.
These raise blood levels of harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
How much is too much?
For adults no more than 11% of our energy should come from saturated fat, which means that the average man should have no more than 30g a day and the average woman no more than 20g a day.
No more than 11% of our energy should come from saturated fat
Men should eat no more than 95g of fat per day and only 30g or less should be saturated fat
Women, and children aged 5-10, should eat no more than 70g of fat per day and only 20g or less of this should be saturated fat
Similarly, children aged 5-10 should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat per day.
There is no maximum recommended level for infants - they naturally need more fat in their diet than adults because they are growing. But children aged two and above can be given semi-skimmed or 1% fat milk rather than full-fat, according to the FSA's head of nutrition Rosemary Hignett.
She says people are getting an average of 13.3% of their energy from saturated fat, which is too much.
High fat foods contain more than 20g of fat per 100g. Low fat foods contain 3g of fat or less per 100g.
Foods are high in saturated fat if they contain more than 5g of saturates per 100g. Foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are said to be low in saturated fat.

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