Different variety of healthy food displayed on a tray on a wooden table

We’ve taken a look at how the Healthier Choice Symbol can help us pick out food products that are healthier and more nutrient-packed.

Next, we look at variants that help us trim the fat — saturated fat and trans fat.

Oversaturated

Asian woman shopping for milk in the supermaket

First off, why cut down on saturated fat? How is it bad for us?

Saturated fat has been shown to raise total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), what is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. Having too much “bad” cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Those of us who love the decadence of dairy products like cheese or enjoy the convenience of ready meals may be unknowingly consuming too much saturated fat.

Luckily there’s a way for us to cut down on our intake of saturated fat, with the help of the “Lower in Saturated Fat” variant of the Healthier Choice Symbol.

Products that carry t his variant contain at least 25 percent less saturated fat than similar products that don’t.

Healthier Choice Symbol: Lower in Saturated Fat

So which products carry this variant? Think dairy products, edible oils like olive oil, canola or sunflower oils, and fat spreads. Convenience meals and instant 3-in-1 beverages may also carry the symbol.

Related: Introduction to Fats

Say No to Trans Fat

Traditional Danish butter cookies

Move over, saturated fats, you’ve been beaten by trans fat, the biggest baddie in town. Fret not, the sixth variant of the Healthier Choice Symbol points you to food products that are trans fat free.

Products carrying this variant contain no (or have negligible) amounts of trans fat.

Healthier Choice Symbol: Trans Fat Free

So what exactly makes trans fat such a no-no? First, trans fat increases the risk of heart disease, and increases LDL — “bad” cholesterol – levels.

Not only that, trans fat also decreases the level of “good” cholesterol — and we like “good” cholesterol because it helps clean up excess “bad” cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attacks.

How can we avoid trans fat? Simply look for the “Trans fat free” variant on products such as margarine, edible oils, biscuits and cookies, as well as cakes, bread and rolls.

Related: The Skinny on Trans Fats

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