Eating too much of the wrong type of fat can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke, so it is important to be aware of our recommended intakes. Women should eat no more than 20g saturated fat per day, and men no more than 30g. Saturated fat is found in foods including butter, cream, ice cream, cheese, coconut cream, coconut oil, palm oil, some processed and fatty cuts of meat, pies, biscuits, cakes and pastries. Children should eat less saturated fat than adults but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under five years old. It is also important to remember that some fat in the diet is necessary as it provides energy and essential fatty acids and helps us to absorb certain vitamins.
While saturated fats can increase harmful cholesterol levels, unsaturated fats can do the opposite. As part of a healthy, balanced diet, it is best to choose foods that contain higher amounts of unsaturated fat and less saturated fat. Unsaturated fats can be found in foods such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish. Try to swap sources of saturated fat in your diet for unsaturated fat alternatives. Keep the cheeseboard as an occasional treat!