Bad Fat to Good Fat

Fat Facts

As mums, we want the meals we make to provide all the nutrients and energy that our family needs to grow and be well.


Not all fat is bad. Fats are an essential part of healthy eating so it’s good for you and your family to eat a certain amount of the healthier ones.

Good fats are ones that reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood and increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This helps to lower our risk of heart disease.  Unhealthy fats do the opposite.

Saturated and trans fats are bad for our family’s health, and a lot of Australians eat too much of them.

So how can you tell if your family is eating the bad fats? These foods are high in unhealthy saturated fats:

• Full fat milk and other dairy products including butter

• Hard and full fat soft cheese

• Cream and crème fraiche

• Meat or chicken with the fat and/or skin on it

• Processed meats such as sausages, burgers and salami

• Pastry

• Coconut oil and coconut milk

• Palm oil

• Fatty or fried take-away foods

• Packaged cakes and biscuits

Deep-fried food, like chips, and shop bought cakes and biscuits also contain unhealthy trans fats, and so we should only eat them occasionally and not everyday.

Don’t panic! You can still serve up most of your family’s favourite foods; you just need to swap the bad fats for the good ones: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

As a general rule of thumb, monounsaturated fats are plant-based. Think avocados, almonds, cashews and cooking oils made from plants or seeds (canola, sunflower, olive, sesame). Polyunsaturated fats are also known as omega-6 and omega-3s, and you’ll find these in fish, margarine, linseeds, tahini (sesame paste), walnuts and sunflower and safflower oil.

When it comes to reducing the bad fat in your family meals, the best place to start is in the supermarket.

If you’re not sure which food is best for your family, look for the ones that carry the Heart Foundation Tick. There are Tick options for most foods (including all fresh fruit and vegetables), and it’s your guarantee that the product meets the Heart Foundation’s strict nutritional standards including the level of saturated fat.

Healthy changes, today

To help you get started, here are 5 simple changes you can make today:

1. Swap full-fat dairy foods for reduced, low or no-fat dairy foods for everyone in the family over two years of age. You will remove 4 kg of saturated fat from your diet in a year if you do this with 1 cup of milk, two slices of cheese and a small tub of yoghurt a day. You can remove even more by choosing no fat foods.

2. Swap butter for a margarine spread made from canola, sunflower or olive oil. Just doing this with your daily morning toast and sandwiches will remove 2.85 kg of saturated fat from your diet in one year.

3. Trim off all visible fat from meat, remove the skin on chicken. Avoid processed meats, like sausages and salami, unless they have the Heart Foundation Tick.

4. Serve up three portions of oily fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, blue mackerel) each week. A portion is 150g, which is roughly the size of your hand. Add fish oil capsules and omega-3 enriched foods and drinks to your diet if you’re not eating enough oily fish.

5. Choose healthier treats. Cakes, pastries and biscuits are one of the main sources of saturated fat in our diets. Raisin bread, Tick approved cereal and nut bars, or Tick approved sweet biscuits are healthier options. Limit pastries, pizza, fried fish, hamburgers, hot chips and creamy pasta to once a week.

See below for a video explaining how to reduce the amount of saturated fat in our diet in five easy steps. Today show footage courtesy of Channel 9.


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: