From Featuring Dr Chris Steele MBE

UK eating too much saturated fat

Brits unaware of link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease

The UK is currently eating 20% more saturated fat than UK Government recommendations, according to surveys carried out by the Food Standards Agency.

The good news from the surveys was that most people (93%) had heard about saturated fat and more than half realised we should be eating less in our diet.

But the same people surveyed thought the biggest danger to their health were cancer and obesity followed by heart disease. They were unaware that cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and angina, is the biggest cause of early death in the UK. Currently CVD is responsible for around 200,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Furthermore, almost half of people questioned thought there was no need to be concerned about saturated fat in their diet if they exercised regularly, ate lots of fruit and vegetables and exercised regularly.

Tim Smith, Food Standards Agency Chief Executive commented:

"People say they do know that saturated fat is bad for them but don't necessarily link it to heart disease and what they are eating. It's important that they make that connection because heart disease is the UKs number one killer - one in three of us will die as a result. There are simple ways we can cut down the amount of saturated fat we all eat and protect our health"

Highest contributers of saturated fat to the UK diet

  1. Dairy products, including full fat milk and cheese (24%)
  2. Meat and meat products including meat pies, pastries and burgers (22%)
  3. Fat spreads, including butter (11%)
  4. Biscuits, buns, cakes and pastries (8%)
  5. Chocolate confectionary (5%)

Tips for reducing saturated fat in your diet

  1. Eat more poultry and fish instead of red meat.
  2. Trim the visible white fat from meat, and remove the skin from poultry.
  3. Grill meat instead of frying
  4. Use low(er) fat dairy products, such as skimmed or semi- skimmed milk, low fat yogurts and reduced fat cheeses
  5. Check the labels on food. If food contains more than 5g/ of saturated fat per 100g, this is high. If it contains less than 1g of saturated fat per 100g of food, this is considered low.

The Food Standards Agency is also running a TV ad during February and March 2009 highlighting the dangers of eating too much saturated fat.

To coincide with the launch of their campaign, it has introduced a new recipe section on

All the recipes have been analysed nutritionally so everyone can see how many grams of sat fat, fat, salt and sugar is contained, and whether it is high, medium or low for each nutrient.

It has also produced a download that you can put on your PC at home to remind you about the tips, and give you the recipes from our eatwell website that tell you exactly how much saturated fat is in each portion to help you navigate your way to a healthier diet.Anyone with a mobile phone can get daily tips on cutting down on saturated fat by sending the text message 'SATFAT START' to the number 62372. You will then get a daily tip by text to your mobile phone for the next 30 days. To unsubscribe at any time, just text 'SATFAT STOP' to the same number.

This article was published on Tue 10 February 2009