Not all fat is equal
While fat is a good source of energy and all fat contains roughly the same amount of calories (with 1 gram providing 9kcals), not all fat is equal. Saturated fat, found in foodstuffs such as cakes and biscuits, ready-meals and processed meats, can increase the amount of blood cholesterol, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Unsaturated fats or ‘good’ fats, are usually liquid at room temperature – such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils, plus those contained in foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds.
Mono-unsaturated fats are found in avocados, olive oil and nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts. Poly-unsaturated fat is found in oily fish, such as salmon and sardines and in smaller amounts in oils such as sunflower, flax and linseed. It also contains essential fatty acids, such as omega-3, which are associated with good heart health.
Which fats are good for you?
When it comes to deciphering which fats are good for you, only marginally more respondents believed mono and polyunsaturated fats to be better for them at 35%, compared to 29% who believed they’re bad for you. 36% didn’t know either way.
And, once again, it appears that younger consumes are more receptive to healthy eating messages. 46% and 41% of 18–24 and 25–34 year-olds respectively agreed that mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats were good for them.
However, the percentages of respondents of all ages who believed these kinds of fat were bad for them was also relatively high – ranging from 31% of 35–44 year-olds to 29% of 18–24 year-olds.
Knowledge about the fats was evenly spread amongst men and women, with 36% of men agreeing mono and polyunsaturated fats were good for them and 34% of women. But this still left high percentages of both men and women – 28% and 30% respectively, who believed these kinds of fat were in fact unhealthy.