Today the Food Standards Agency has launched a campaign to increase public awareness of the dangers of eating an excess of saturated fat in the diet. People in the UK eat, on average, 20 per cent more saturated fat than the recommended maximum.
Over time, a diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks, angina and stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the most common cause of death in the UK and in 2006 was responsible for about one in three premature deaths.
The Food Standards Agency has made a graphic TV advert of someone reaching into a fridge in an average home (http://eatwell.gov.uk/satfatad). A jug containing a typical amount of saturated fat consumed by someone in a month is then poured down a sink. The U-bend under the sink is then unscrewed to show how the fat has congealed and clogged the pipe, in much the same way that saturated fat clogs arteries.
Food Standard Agency Chief Executive Tim Smith said “People say they do know that saturated fat is bad for them but they don’t necessarily link it to heart disease and what they are eating”.
A new FSA survey published today shows that many people are unaware of simple changes they can make to reduce the amount of saturated fat they eat.
- Only a fifth (20 per cent) of people choose to eat fish or poultry instead of red meat, only a quarter of people cut the white bits off meat and a fifth choose meat with less white on it – all options for reducing the amount of saturated fat in our food
- Not even one third of people take the skin off chicken/poultry before cooking (or buy it without the skin), which reduces the saturated fat content
- Less than half of people regularly grill their meat, which is a healthier way of cooking it, while a tenth still fry their meat for extra flavour
- Almost two-thirds of people think that healthier foods are more expensive than unhealthier foods, highlighting the need for practical, cost-effective tips
For practical information about how to choose and prepare foods low in saturated fat, why not come along to a Cooking for Health class, held all year round in Somerset.
For details see http://cookingforhealth.synthasite.com.