Trying to lose weight by limiting your fat intake is a tough call – especially when food manufacturers try hard to make their products please your taste buds
Here are five simple tactics to be aware of, so you can better control the amount of fat you eat.
1 FAT + salt = twice as bad
Fat is a flavour vehicle, and salt is a flavour enhancer – double trouble. The more you eat, the more desensitised you are to the flavours, so you eat more unhealthy fat and salt to recreate that pleasing taste. ‘Kick the cycle and make your own meals to control your intake,’ says Professor David Haslam, HFG expert and chair of the National Obesity Forum.
2 Fat + sugar = hunger
Fatty and sugary foods are so attractive to us that they increase our hunger signals, while raising the amount we eat to feel full. ‘Fight the signals by eating foods that really satisfy,’ says David. ‘Lean meat, eggs, fish, chicken and nuts are all protein sources that can boost satiety. Pile on veg, too, to bulk up your meals.’
3 Fat is easy to swallow
Soft foods such as cake are easy to eat, so you can wolf down twice the volume as you would with a home-cooked snack before you notice how stuffed you feel. ‘But chewy foods, such as fresh fruit and lean meats, spend more time in your mouth, where saliva starts to break them down,’ explains David. ‘This turns on your satiety signals as you’re eating.’
4 It’s also cheap
Manufacturers use fat to bulk up their products, which they can sell for less than fresh, non-processed foods. Take fish fingers or battered fish – they tend to be cheaper than pure, fresh fillets. ‘Also, most foods are naturally lower-fat in their pure state,’ says David. ‘That’s another reason to shun processed foods in favour of whole foods.’
5 Fat that’s hidden
While big chain restaurants and fast-food outlets provide nutrition information, smaller businesses rarely do, so chefs can add what they like. ‘Take the shop-bought birthday cake,’ says David. ‘It’s made with so much butter and sugar.’ The solution? Bake it yourself to control the amount of taste-pleasuring ingredients.