The quality of the fat matters.

Excessive use of hard fats keeps the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood elevated, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Soft fat, on the other hand, lowers total and LDL cholesterol in the blood and improves the HDL / LDL cholesterol ratio.

  • Read more: There is a mistake in the diet of almost all Finns that can make the liver fat

Even partial replacement of hard fats with soft ones reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to Tuija Pusa, the nutrition expert of the Heart Association, insulin sensitivity, ie sugar metabolism, also improves when switching from hard fats to soft fats.

This means that changing the quality of your fat can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

- Fatty liver is also reduced.

For many, a new thing may come from the fact that the use of good quality fat also reduces sarcopenia, i.e. the atrophy of muscle mass.

Thus, the quality of fat affects muscle function and muscle mass, which is important to consider at the latest at retirement age.

How to distinguish "bad fat"

The transition from hard to soft fats is reflected in blood fat values ​​almost immediately.

- This, of course, depends on the starting situation, ie the diet and how big changes you make.

When nutrition students changed the quality of fat in their own diet, the change in fat values ​​took place as early as a week.

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 When the proportion of saturated fat is less than one-third, the quality of the fat is good.

The recommended fat intake for adults and children over 2 years of age is 25 to 40 percent of energy.

This means an average of 80 grams per day for men and 60 grams per day for women.

The body uses fat as a building block for cells and for energy production.

Fat provides fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E, as well as essential fatty acids.

Tuija Pusa states that the Finnish diet contains far too much unhealthy hard fat.

The transition from hard to soft fat is reflected in blood fat values ​​almost immediately.Photo: Colourbox

How, then, can one distinguish between fat and unhealthy “bad fat” or healthy soft?

- Animal fats are high in hard fat, with the exception of fish and poultry.

Vegetable fats, on the other hand, are soft, with the exception of coconut and palm oil, a nutritionist simplifies.

Fats are divided according to their chemical composition into saturated, i.e. hard and unsaturated, i.e. soft fats.

Hidden fat intake is more difficult to control

Most of the hard fat that Finns get comes from meat and sausage dishes, cold cuts, cheeses, dairy products, spreads containing milk fat, sweet and savory pastries and, for example, chocolate.

A large proportion of fat is hidden fat, the intake of which is more difficult to control than visible fat.

However, the quality and quantity of fat can easily be checked on the label, which is required by law to indicate how much saturated fat the product contains.

- When the proportion of saturated fat is less than one third, the quality of the fat is good.

Pusa also reminds of a small Heart Mark, which helps to find among the products those with less fat or with better fat quality than other options.

Where do you get the most fat in your diet?

You accumulate far too much hard fat if you eat fatty red meat every day, use butter for frying and spread hard fat spread and cream cheese on the bread.

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 We Finns are a bread-eating nation, so it matters very much what you put on top of the bread.

Fat repair should be started by researching your own daily diet and thinking about which foods and products contain the most fat.

After that, we start making better choices.

- It is good to first understand where the fat comes from and get started on what should be eaten the most.

There is a fat quality test on the heart union page, from which it is easy to outline your own fat intake, Pusa suggests.

The expert recommends replacing the meat with a lighter one, such as chicken, which has significantly less hard fat than red meat, or fish, which is a good source of soft fat.

For frying, he recommends vegetable oil.

When you still sip vegetable fat spread over milk slices instead of milk fat and switch cuts and cheeses to lower-fat alternatives, the amount of fat already drops a lot and the body thanks for the soft fat.

- We Finns are a bread-eating nation, so it matters a lot what you put on the bread, says Pusa.

It matters a lot what you put on the bread, says Tuija Pusa, the nutrition expert of the Heart Association. Photo: Finnish Heart Association

Precise information on the quality of the fat can be found on the label.

- Even if it is fish soup, it can have a lot of cream.

On the other hand, the minced meat used in the product may be poultry and not pork.

Even with plant-based products, you need to be careful and make sure on the packaging that vegetable fat is not just unhealthy coconut or palm oil.

Here's how to get started:

1. Sandwiches

Use vegetable fat or other plant-based spreads instead of spreads containing milk fat.

You can also replace the spread, cut and slice of cheese with avocado slices, for example.

2. Cuts

Replace greasy slices with less low-fat options.

In cold cuts, the Heart Mark is a guarantee that the product contains less fat or the quality of the fat is softer.

3. Cheeses

Use low-fat cheese or try vegetable oil-based cheese.

4. Meats and sausages

Replace red meat with poultry that is significantly less fat.

Minced chicken meat is inexpensive and works in minced meat dishes.

Also try vegetable protein products like tofu or quorn.

Fish should also be eaten as it contains healthy soft fat.

5. Cooking

Instead of butter, use vegetable oil for frying and other cooking.

6. Baking

Use vegetable fat or heart-labeled running margarine instead of butter.

7. Dairy products

Switch to low-fat dairy products.

Try an oat drink, which is also very suitable for coffee bleaching.

There is also a wide selection of various other milk and milk product substitutes in the store.

8. Ready meals and semi-finished products

Read the package leaflets and nutrition lists carefully and choose products with less than 1/3 of the saturated fat.

Healthier options

  • Fatty cheese: low-fat or vegetable oil-based cheese or tofu

  • Fatty red meat and sausage: fish, chicken, turkey, lean meat, whole meat product, vegetable protein product

  • Pork and beef: lean minced meat (up to 10% fat), roast minced meat, chicken minced meat

  • Whole milk, skimmed milk and buttermilk: skimmed milk and skimmed milk, soya, oat rice or almond drinks

  • Traditional yoghurt, Turkish or Greek yoghurt, coconut fat-based yoghurt: non-fat yoghurt, yoghurt-like soy or oat preparation

  • Cream, coconut cream and milk: light edible cream or vegetable fat preparation (oat or soy based)

  • Coconut fat or oil: other vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, colza and other oils, bottled margarine, margarine

Source: Heart Alliance