This group, which includes foods such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, sugar-sweetened drinks and crisps, makes up the smallest section of the ‘eatwell plate’.
Fat is a concentrated source of energy. Just 1g provides nine calories – more than double the calories in 1g of protein or carbohydrate.
This means it’s much easier to consume too many calories when eating high-fat foods. People trying to manage their weight should reduce fatty foods to help cut calories. We all need some fat in our diets, but small quantities of EFAs are the key to good health.
Tips: For the average woman, this means about 70g of total fat a day; for men, roughly 95g
To reduce the amount of fat in your diet, try the following:
- Look for alternatives to cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks, which are often high in fat – try fresh fruit, dried fruit and cereal-based products
- Trim any visible fat off meat and poultry
- Buy lean cuts of meat and reduced-fat minces
- Poach, steam, grill or bake food rather than fry it
- Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed
- Opt for low-fat dairy products
- If you use lard, butter or hard margarine, switch to vegetable oil and low-fat spreads
There are two types of sugar – those found naturally in fruit and milk (which are fine and don’t need to be cut down) and those that are added to the diet.
These added sugars can be found in a variety of foods including confectionery, soft drinks, desserts and breakfast cereals. Added sugars are a great source of energy, but provide no other nutrients.
Sugary foods and drinks pose a threat to dental health, especially if consumed between meals.
Even the sugars in honey and fruit juices can cause tooth decay if good oral hygiene isn’t followed and you consume a lot of these foods.
How to reduce consumption of sugary foods:
- Swap sugary drinks for water, low-fat milk or artificially sweetened drinks to reduce your calorie intake
- Try swapping sugary snacks for fruit or bread-based options such as fresh whole fruit or teacakes/malt loaf
- Try to halve the amount of sugar you put in hot drinks, or cut it out completely
- Buy reduced-sugar varieties of jam and marmalade
- Choose canned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup