Eating low fat foods

High fat diets can lead to weight gain, and excess body weight increases the risk of cancers of the bowel, kidney, pancreas, oesophagus and endometrium (lining of the womb), as well as breast cancer (after menopause).   Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Good fats and bad fats
A small amount of fat is essential for good health.   The good fats you need are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The fats to avoid are saturated and trans fats as they can cause high blood cholesterol levels.

Good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated)

  • Olive, canola, sunflower, soybean, sesame and peanut oils
  • Polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated margarines
  • Avocado
  • Nuts (all kinds)
  • Seeds – eg. sesame and sunflower
  • Oily fish – eg. salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna

Bad fats (saturated and trans)

  • Butter, cheese, cream, ice-cream
  • Pastries, biscuits, cakes, pies, chocolate and potato chips
  • Fried take-away foods
  • Fat on meat, bacon, sausages, salami
  • Coconut cream and oil
  • Palm oil and unspecified vegetable oils

Tips for healthy eating

  • Be selective by choosing healthier types of fats
  • Use low fat dairy foods such as low fat or skim milk, low fat yoghurt, custard and ice-cream, and reduced or low fat cheeses
  • Buy lean cuts of meat and trim the visible fat from your meat
  • Go easy on cakes, biscuits and fast foods
  • Use non-stick cookware, and use less oil (or try an oil spray)
  • Use a small amount of stronger flavoured oils such as extra virgin olive, sesame and mustard seed oils
  • Enjoy small amounts of unsalted nuts as a snack or in cooking
  • Eat avocado in salads or instead of butter in sandwiches
  • Use a scrape of polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated margarine on your bread instead of butter
  • Enjoy at least two fish meals each week, preferably oily fish, such as salmon and tuna
  • Use a small amount of healthy oil to make a light salad dressing
  • Add sesame or sunflower seeds to salads
  • Choose grainy breads containing pumpkin seeds