Average Brit consumes over 1,000 pints of saturated fat

FSA campaign launches to reduce nation’s over consumption

The Food Standard Agency new saturated fat awareness campaign which launches today, has again highlighted the fact that over 80% of Britains are eating too much saturated fat. The average Brit will guzzle down more than 1,000 pints of saturated fat in a lifetime – white fat that clogs arteries and increases the risk of developing heart disease, the UK’s number one killer.

The FSA campaign comes as the Government attempts to halt the nation’s spiralling incidence of heart disease. According to a report from the Cabinet Office in 2008, more than 3,500 premature deaths could be avoided every year if we were all consuming within our guideline daily amount (GDA) of saturated fat (20g for women/30g for men).

Leading heart surgeon at The London Heart Hospital, Shyam Kolvekar sees first-hand on a daily basis the damage caused by diets high in saturated fats and is seeing younger and younger patients on his operating table. “I’m increasingly seeing patients as young as 40 in my surgery who do not realise the effect of the saturated fatty foods on their hearts such as butter, biscuits and snacks until it is too late.”

Over time, a diet too high in sat fats can lead to a build up of fatty deposits in the arteries that supply the heart. This increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks, which reduce the quality of life for those living with illness and in worst cases, can be fatal. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), is responsible for 198,000 deaths a year and costing the economy £7.9 billion a year.[i]

Leading dietitian, Jacqui Morrell believes people still are unaware of how much saturated fat is contained in many of our most popular dishes, “People still don’t realise how easily your saturated fat intake adds up. Many of our favourite dishes including spaghetti bolognaise, chicken curry and even the humble cheese sandwich contain more than 10g of saturated fat per serving – that’s over half of a female’s GDA of 20g. Combine that with butter on 2 slices of toast for breakfast, which contains 10.8g and you’ve already exceeded your limit for the day.”

There is a solution to the problem and the new FSA campaign aims to show the nation how positive changes and simple swaps can make a dramatic difference. Jacqui continues, ‘Even something as simple as swapping foods like butter, which is high in saturated fat, with small amounts of a healthy spread made from seed or vegetable oils, which could easily reduce the average sat fat intake by 8.4g.[ii]

What is saturated fat?

Saturated fat is a fat solid at room temperature and is often visible as the fat rind on meat, however there are some foods where it may not be obvious, such as in pastries or cakes.

The types of foods that are typically high in saturated fat are: 

  • butter,whole milk, cream, crème fraiche and hard cheese
  • fatty red meat and meat products such as pies and sausages
  • cakes, pastries and biscuits, savoury snacks, chips, chocolate confectionary

The north south divide

Research commissioned by Unilever from TNS Worldpanel Usage highlights alarming rates of sat fat consumption in the north, particularly Scotland, where residents are consuming up to 175% over their GDA Lancashire is next at 44g, 120% over the GDA. Yorkshire and the Midlands were over by 55%, and even London and the South East, despite being the lowest of the seven regions studied, still exceeded their GDAs by 20%.

When are we over-consuming?

Britains are prone to bingeing at the weekend, often consuming double the guideline daily amount of saturated fat. The TNS research shows sat fat consumption can increase to a staggering 61g for men and 33g for women, equating to anywhere from 50% to 100% over the GDAs. A simple weekend fry-up with buttered toast and a cappuccino contains 33.7g of sat fat in just one traditional breakfast.

Where to go for help?

http://www.satfatnav.com/ is a website which aims to help educate Brits on saturated fat. It contains a wealth of hints and tips to illustrate how simple food swaps can make our popular and favourite foods healthier and help to bring saturated fat intake to within guidelines. New to the site this month is the Sat Fat Calculator – an invaluable online resource that lists the sat fat content of more than 25,000 foods based on information from Weightloss Resources.

Further information:

For further information or for interviews with Shyam Kolvekar or Jacqui Morrell please contact: Elizabeth Reid/Melissa Brown at KTBPR on 02077924 7214 elizabeth@ktbpr.com /melissa@ktbpr.com

[i] British Heart Foundation 2008

[ii] Flora is 78% less sat fat than butter. It contains 1.2g SFA per 10g. If you use 20g day of butter =10.8gSFA. 20g of Flora =2.4g SFA (Difference is 8.4g).

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