Healthy eating – sugar, salt and fat

Most of us eat too much sugar, salt and fat.

Sugar can contribute to weight gain. Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. Sugar is also one of the main causes of tooth decay.

Fat, especially saturated fats, can raise your cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. Current advice is to cut down on all fats and replace saturated fat with some unsaturated fat. These are found mainly in oils from plants and fish

Salt can cause raised blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Don’t add salt to your food automatically – taste it first.

Food labelling

To help make it easier to buy and eat healthier foods, the government, manufacturers and retailers have agreed on a standard of labelling. This standard, sometimes referred to as the traffic light system, signals whether a product has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt:

foodlabelred for high, amber for medium, green for low.

In short, the more green(s) on a label, the healthier the choice. But be aware that these measures are per portion – 30 grams of cereal in the example above.

For more information visit Eat well – the NHS website on how to eat a varied, balanced, healthy diet. These pages include information on food, diet and nutrition, healthy recipes, eating on a budget, vegetarian and vegan diets, digestive health and superfoods.

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