Reducing saturated fat lowers blood cholesterol and risk of CVD

The link between high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not a new one. A recent study published this week by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition on the link between saturated fats and CVD concludes the advice is still the same.

Higher intakes of saturated fat are associated with increased risk of heart disease and should be swapped with unsaturated fats. The advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10% of dietary energy.

“Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease.”

Professor Paul Haggarty, Chair of the Saturated Fats and Health Working Group of SACN

But what kinds of foods contain saturated fat?

Cereals and cereal products (for example, biscuits, cakes and pastries), milk and milk products (mainly cheese, full fat milk and butter), and meat and processed meat products are the main contributors to saturated fat intake.

How can I cut my saturated fat levels?

Examples of swaps that can be made to reduce saturated fat include:

  • cooking with oils instead of butter
  • using a lower fat spread instead of butter
  • choosing lean meat or oily fish instead of red or fatty meat
  • try not to exceed 2 portions of red meat a week
  • switching to semi skimmed milk instead of full fat
  • using yogurt instead of cream
  • having a piece of fruit as a snack instead of cake or biscuits
  • replace some meat in meals with beans or pulses
  • Keep cheese portions to no more than a match box size

Smoking and lack of physical activity can also increase your cholesterol levels and subsequently your risk of cardiovascular disease. Ditching the cigarettes, keeping as active as possible and swapping to lower saturated fatty foods can all help lower your cholesterol.

If you are interested in learning what your cholesterol is, book in for you free NHS Health Check today.