Dietary fat and healthy eating

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The take home message? There is more to a healthy diet than just the type of fat you choose. There’s strong and consistent evidence behind better fat choices: unsaturated fat should be chosen over saturated fat, and trans fat should be as low as possible. But no one eats pure fat, they eat food.

Rather than focus on individual nutrients, we encourage everyone to follow the healthy eating principles which is naturally low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar and rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6). Eating this way will improve the heart health of all Australians by reducing CVD risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised blood lipids and decreasing the risk of developing and dying from heart disease.

How the Heart Foundation’s Heart Healthy Eating Principles encourage a good balance of dietary fat intake: 

Heart Healthy Eating Principle

Choices which help achieve dietary fat recommendations

A variety of healthy protein sources especially fish and seafood, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure the meat is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.  

  • Fish and seafood 2-3 times per week – source of omega-3
  • Legumes eaten in preference to meat and poultry helps to limit saturated and trans fat
  • Include nuts and seeds – source of monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 and omega-6 PUFA
  • Remove fat and skin from meat, game and poultry – limits saturated and trans fat

Healthy oils including olives, avocados, nuts, seeds and their oils

  • These foods are a source of unsaturated fats (MUFA and PUFA)