Foods & drinks high in fat and /or sugar

Don’t think of fats and sugars as bad – just think of them as treats or something to have in moderation as part of a healthier balanced diet.

Foods in this group include butter, crisps, cakes, soft drinks, salad dressings and chocolate; however, meat, fish and dairy also have naturally occurring fats.


Corn on the con with butter

Although some fat is essential, most of us eat far more than is good for us. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fat

  • High levels of saturated fat are found in animal fats and products like lard, hard and full-fat cheeses, cream, butter, sausages, burgers and pastry.
  • Saturated fat can raise cholesterol in the blood, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Unsaturated fat

  • Unsaturated fats can be found in oily fish, olive and vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.
  • Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels.

Shop smart

Make sure your shopping includes:

  •  Front of pack nutrition labelling with traffic lights that are green for saturated fat.
  • Spreads and oils that contain monounsaturated fats such as olive and rapeseed.
  • Reduced-fat or lighter dairy products.

How to cook healthier recipes for your family

Cook with less fat

Cook with a little olive, corn or rapeseed oil,  rather than using butter or lard. Try to poach, braise, steam, grill or use a fat-free marinade when cooking to reduce fat intake and boost flavour.

Did you know…

  1. A diet higher in saturated fat can narrow the arteries and increase the risk of a stroke, heart disease or certain types of cancer.
  2. Experts recommend women eat no more than 20g of saturated fat in a day and men no more than 30g

Sugar in the diet

Brown sugar

To find out how much sugar your food contains, look at ‘total sugars’ on our front of pack nutrition traffic light. Green means low in sugar, amber indicates a medium amount and red means high in sugar.

These ‘total sugar’s include sugars which are naturally present in foods, such as those found in fruit, vegetables and milk.

Naturally present or not sugars is fruit juices and smoothies can damage teeth as drinks are easy to consume, it’s easy to have too much sugar from drinks.

To maintain a low-sugar diet, look for nutrition labelling on the front of food packaging. We provide information per 100g and per serving, including guidelines for recommended daily amounts.

How to eat less sugar

Make soft drinks an occasional treat, dilute fruit juices half-and-half with fizzy water and avoid adding sugar to hot drinks. Try using fresh fruit to sweeten cereal and swap jam for mashed banana on toast at breakfast.

Healthier eating with diabetes

More about healthier diets