An extensive Heart Foundation review into the fat we eat has found more evidence about the harmful nature of trans fat and the negative effects of too much saturated fat.
The review has prompted the Heart Foundation to urge Australians to switch their fat focus from ‘total fat’ to ‘type of fat’ with a strong recommendation to cut back on saturated fat which remains a key issue for cardiovascular risk.
The dietary fats and dietary cholesterol for cardiovascular health review considered all of the latest evidence around the cardiovascular health and ‘types of fat’ – the benefits of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and the negative health impacts of saturated and trans fats.
Ms Susan Anderson, National Healthy Weight Director for the Heart Foundation said Australians are eating twice the Heart Foundation’s recommended maximum of saturated fat¹.
“This is alarming because evidence continues to show that saturated fat leads to increased levels of LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ in the blood which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The good news is that reducing saturated fat in your meals will help to lower your LDL cholesterol, much more than avoiding cholesterol in foods,” said Susan Anderson.
The easiest way to reduce saturated fat is to choose reduced fat dairy foods, limit foods such as pastries, pies, pizza, biscuits and hot chips to once a week and trim all meat and poultry of visible fat before cooking.**
Using a variety of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils (eg. canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oil) and eating unsalted nuts, avocadoes and fish will help to provide ‘good’ fats.
Reducing the amount of saturated fat we consume can be achieved quickly by just making five simple changes that will make a big difference to you and your family’s health now and in the long-term. In fact, making the first two swaps alone could remove almost 7kg of saturated fat from your diet each year.
Heart Foundation tips to reduce your family’s saturated fat today:
1. Swap full fat dairy foods for reduced, low or no fat dairy foods – for all family members over two years old. You’ll save 4kg of saturated fat a year if you do this with 1 cup of milk, 2 slices of cheese and a small
tub of yoghurt a day. The savings will be even greater if you choose no fat options!
2. Swap butter for a margarine spread – just by doing this with your daily toast will save 2.85kg of saturated fat from your diet in one year.
3. Cut the fat – trim all visible fat from meat; remove skin from chicken and try to avoid processed meats (e.g. ham, unless it has the Heart Foundation Tick).
4. Eat 2-3 serves of oily fish a week – 150g is a serve which is about the size of your hand. Add fish oil capsules and omega-3 enriched foods and drinks if you’re not eating salmon or sardines often enough.
5. Choose healthier treats – cakes, pastries and biscuits are one of the main sources of saturated fat in our diets. Raisin bread, Tick approved cereal / nut bars or Tick approved sweet biscuits are healthier options.
To learn more about healthier eating call the Heart Foundation Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87 or visit the website www.heartfoundation.org.au
1. The Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found children are consuming
twice the recommended maximum allowance of saturated fat. As parents tend to eat the same foods as
their children, we have assumed that the adult intake of saturated fat is the same.
** Drawn from The Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey and BIS
Shrapnel; Foodservice in Australia 2009.
Source: Heart Foundation