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Fats are also known as lipids and there are different types of fats, saturated, monosaturated and polyunsaturated and they provide energy at about 9 calories per gram and is a source of energy in the body. If you consume too much fat, you will cause weight gain. A certain amount of fats are needed in the diet to provide the essential fatty acids and can transport some fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.

You should not consume more than 11% of energy from saturated fats, which are foods like full cream, hard cheese, dripping, coconut oil, lard, butter, and the fat from meat and pastry. High levels of saturated fats can lead to a raised cholesterol level and therefore an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Polyunsaturated fats come from oils like soya, fish oil, sunflower oil and corn oil and these can be beneficial and provide calories. Some kinds of margarine and spreads also provide polyunsaturated fats.

Monosaturated fats are good for your heart and found in things like olive oil, rapeseed oil, walnut oil and avocado. They are also found in some kinds of margarine or spreads.

Fats are made of fatty acids and are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and usually consist of one glycerol molecule and three fatty acids linked to it. These fatty acids can be unsaturated or saturated.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent blood clotting so they are useful in preventing heart disease, they also help prevent inflammation so are good for joint diseases and they help in the formation of brain cells. Omega-6 fatty acids can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. It is advised that you eat at least one meal a week of oily fish so you eat these valuable Omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish are things like herring, kippers, mackerel, salmon, trout, anchovies and pilchards. The body can produce omega-3 from rapeseed oil and the oil from soya and walnuts.

Cholesterol is a sticky wax-like substance, which is required for life, but excess amounts can be harmful and levels of cholesterol can be an indicator of coronary heart disease. There are two types of cholesterol LDL and HDL. LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are known as bad cholesterol and HDL or high-density lipoprotein are know as good cholesterol.

Fat can be classified as visible and invisible. Visible fats are things like butter, lard, oil, fat on meats, suet, cream and margarine. Invisible fats are those that are hidden in food like nuts, seeds, cakes, ice cream sauces to name a few.

You can reduce the amount of fat in the food we eat by cooking food using a low-fat method like steaming, casseroling, baking, grilling, poaching or braising. Cooking in fats like deep frying or pan frying add more fats to the foods that you produce.