Heart healthy fats

Download our factsheet on healthy fats

Eating too many foods rich in saturated fat and not enough foods rich in heart healthy unsaturated fats can increase blood cholesterol levels. It’s important to keep your overall fat intake down, but also to replace saturated fat with healthier unsaturated fats where possible.

As a guide, the average woman should have less than 20g and the average man less than 30g of saturated fat every day.

Saturated fats

Saturated fat is mainly found in fatty and processed meats, full fat dairy products, butter, ghee, lard, pastries, pasties, pies and in many cakes, puddings and biscuits. Palm oil and coconut oil also contain saturated fat.

Using your completed diet diary, are there any high saturated fat foods you can spot?

This simple guide to food labels should help you to decide which foods are low, moderate or high in saturated fats. Some foods will have this information on the front of pack, some on the back, and some will be colour coded.

Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils such as rapeseed, olive, sunflower, soya and corn oil and in any spreads made from these.

Nuts, seeds, avocados and oil based salad dressings are also good sources. 

Simple swaps

These simple swaps will help you cut out a surprising amount of saturated fat.

Low fat dairy & alternatives

Milk and yogurts: always opt for the lower fat or skimmed varieties or switch to plant-based drinks and soya alternatives to yogurt.

Cheese: as well as being high in saturated fat, cheese is also high in salt. Therefore, opt for lighter or lower fat versions and keep to a minimum.

Oil-rich fish

One 140g serving a week (in addition to your one serving of white fish a week) from sustainable sources.

Oil-rich fish are a good protein source, low in saturated fats and rich in heart healthy unsaturated fats – long chain omega-3.

Tinned, frozen or fresh e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring, mackerel.

Always go for sustainably sourced fish – ask the fishmonger or look on the label for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) logo.

Download our factsheet on healthy fats


See the other healthy changes you can make in step 2