HEALTHY EATING: EAT LESS FAT

Why you should eat less fat

Cutting down your total fat intake will reduce your calorie intake and will make it easier for you to get slim—and stay slim. And reducing your intake of saturated fat will dramatically improve your health and reduce your susceptibility to a wide range of disorders (particularly heart disease and high blood pressure).

It is essential to have some fat in your diet in order to stay healthy and fit. There are two obvious reasons why your body needs some fat.

First, essential vitamins such as A and D are soluble in fat. If your diet doesn’t include any fat then you may become short in these vitamins.

Second, some polyunsaturated fatty acids are needed for the maintenance of your cell membranes and for the production of vital substances such as prostaglandins.

But it is desperately important that you try to keep your intake of fat to a minimum. If you eat too much fat—and an ordinary, modern, Westernised, twentieth-century diet will almost certainly contain too much fat—then you will run a risk of developing clogged arteries, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Three ways in which a low fat diet will improve your health

Fat is rich in calories. If you eat a diet which contains a lot of fat then there is a big chance that you will become obese—and you will subsequently have difficulty in losing that excess weight. Eating a low fat diet will make it easier for you to get slim—and stay slim.

If you eat a diet which contains too much saturated fat then you will run a real risk of developing potentially deadly heart disease. A low fat diet won’t make you immune from heart disease—but it will reduce your susceptibility to this type of illness.

A high fat diet will increase your risk of developing cancer. Keeping down your intake of fat will cut your risk of developing cancer.

Ten easy ways to reduce the amount of fat you eat

Don’t fry or roast food. Grill, steam, poach, casserole, bake or boil—but don’t fry or roast unless you absolutely must! If you do fry then use a non stick pan so that you don’t have to add extra fat to whatever it is that you are cooking.

Drink skimmed or semi-skimmed milk rather than the full fat variety.

Avoid butter and margarine (which contain a lot of saturated fat) and use low fat spreads instead. You will find it easier to be more sparing with fatty spreads if you make an effort to buy bread which you really like. Good bread doesn’t need a layer of fat to make it palatable.

If you must eat meat (which isn’t good for your health) then eat only lean meat; avoid red meat whenever you can (because red meat is often rich in hidden or invisible fit); cut off visible fat before cooking or eating and after grilling or

Cooking meat on a rack (so that the fat drips out) throw the fat away rather than try to find a use for it in the kitchen.

Use liquid oil which is rich in polyunsaturates and which contains few saturates, instead of a hard fat, when you are baking.

When making chips out of potatoes cut them thickly (because they will soak up less fat), make sure that the fat or oil you use is very hot before you add the chips (they will soak up less of the fat if it is very hot) and dry them on kitchen paper after you have cooked them in order to remove any excess oil.

If you must buy cream buy single cream rather than double cream. It is often possible to replace cream in recipes with yoghurt.

Try to choose low fat cheese, yoghurt, salad dressings and other products when you are shopping.

Add herbs rather than butter to vegetables when you have cooked them. Vegetables don’t need to have butter added to them if they have been properly cooked.

Try to use less fat in cooking. Experiment with low fat recipes.

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