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Why it's a good idea to eat less saturated fat.

According to research published by the Food Standards Agency, many of us remain confused around the issue of fat, in particular saturated fat, and its effect on our health. Fat is like a family, the members of which have complicated names- saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In terms of heart health, saturates are the outcasts.

Generally speaking, saturated fat is solid at room temperature and is the visible fat on meat or the stuff that goes solid and white after grilling sausages. But saturated fat is not always visible and is found in most foods that contain fat - even heart healthy foods like olive oil, mackerel or chicken contain some saturates.

A saturated-fat-free diet would be difficult to achieve and isn't necessary. What is important is to keep our intake of saturates low by avoiding foods that are particularly high in this type of fat.

A high intake of saturated fat can lead to clogged arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat does not solidify in your arteries, but it causes the liver to make more cholesterol and more of a particular type called LDL-cholesterol, which then deposits as plaque in your arteries.

Government recommendations are to keep saturates under 11% of your energy intake - for women leading an active life and expending 2,000 calories a day this is roughly 20g in weight, and for men on 2,500 calories a day it would be around 30g a day.

Remember that saturated fat, like salt, is in many of the foods we buy and so the best way to keep our intake healthy is to avoid saturate-rich foods both in the shops and when cooking.

For more information, contact Heart Research UK on 0113 297 6206 or email
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 23, 2007
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