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Most people in the western world eat too much fat and too much sugar.

Fats and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this can mean that we put on weight. This can lead to obesity, which increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.

But did you know that there are different types of fat?

Saturated fat is found in foods such as cheese, sausages, butter, cakes, biscuits and pies. It can raise your blood cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease.  Most people eat too much saturated fat, which puts us at risk of health problems.

Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help to lower cholesterol and provide us with the essential fatty acids needed to help us stay healthy.  Oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oils and vegetable oils are sources of unsaturated fat.

Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have smaller amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead.  For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread or avocado instead of butter, lard or ghee. When having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.

Sugar occurs naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but we don’t need to cut down on these types of sugar.  Sugar is also added to lots of foods and drinks such as sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, ice cream and jam.  It’s also contained in some ready-made savoury foods such as pasta sauces and baked beans.

Most of us need to cut down on foods with added sugar. Instead of a fizzy drink, for example, try sparkling water.  Have a currant bun as a snack instead of a pastry.  Stay away from processed and ready made foods, and don’t eat extra sugary items such as chocolate bars and lollies, as we already get enough sugar from natural foods like fruits.  Remember, your body turns sugar into carbohydrates (energy), and then if you don’t use this energy the carbs get turned into fat!!