30% or less of our daily energy intake should come from fats, with the emphasis being on mono and poly-unsaturated fats, as opposed to saturated fats. 1-2 tablespoons (20-40grams) of mono or poly-unsaturated oil per day is enough to supply the essential fat and fat –soluable vitamins.
One gram of fat contains 37 kilojoules of energy.
A common perception is that all fats are bad and raise blood cholesterol levels. However are an important part of our diet, and some fats actually lower cholesterol levels. Omega 3 and omega 6 fats are essential nutrients, lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood, and therefore the health of the heart. Monounsaturated fats are considered healthier fats. These healthy fats are mainly found in vegetable oils, salad dressings, nuts, avocados and seeds.
Saturated fats are the ‘bad’ fats due to the fact that they increase the level of cholesterol in the blood, consequently increasing the risk of heart disease. They are not essential in our diet. The less we consume of these fats the better. Limiting the amount of saturated fats in our diet is the best way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found in butter, cream, cheese, full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, sausages, biscuits, cakes, pastries, snack foods and fried take-away.