Fats and oils

Fats and oils

Fats have the most energy (kilojoules) of all the nutrients, so it is important to moderate intake as too much fat can make managing your weight difficult.

Olive oil


There are four different types of fat 

  • saturated fat
  • polyunsaturated fat
  • monounsaturated fat
  • trans fat


Saturated fat and trans fats are the ones you really have to watch out for as they increase the risk of heart disease by increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering high density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol.


On the other hand, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. 


Butter and margarine are made from fat. Avoid using butter, copha, lard and ghee. Instead choose a poly or monounsaturated margarine such as olive, canola or sunflower spreads. 



  • aim for saturated fat less than 1/3 of total fat
  • less than 400 mg sodium per 100g


Not all oils are the same, so no wonder people get confused. A good rule of thumb is to use cooking spray in place of oils as you use less fat overall.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking lighter oils are better for you - lighter oils are lighter in colour, but not necessarily any lighter in fat.