Head of Department Dietetics, National Hospital, Abuja, Sarah Abagail has advised Nigerians to consume more of low fat foods as they provide healthy nutrients and build body cells.
Abagail, who gave the advice in an interview with the press, said low fat foods reduces the risk of heart related diseases.
According to her, the human body needs the right type of fat for optimal functioning and moderation, adding that unsaturated fats are known as low fat foods.
She said mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are good fats that can be found in most nuts, avocado pear, olive oil, fish, coconut oil and palm kernel.
“While some fats are considered good, some others should be avoided.
Unsaturated fat in our food helps to normalise body weight, blood glucose levels, control of blood lipid level while reducing the risk of heart diseases and stroke,’’ the dietician said.
Abagail said fat was an essential macronutrient, adding that too much of saturated fat and trans fat was detrimental to the health as it increases bad cholesterol in the body.
“Trans fat should be totally avoided as it possess dangers of raising cholesterol level in the body; trans-fat are found in a wide range of packaged and processed foods.
Saturated fats are found in meat and dairy foods from animal products, while Trans-fat are found in margarines for cookies, cakes and pies, among others, which should be avoided,’’ she said.
Abagail listed four strategies in reducing the intake of fat in diets such as substitution, reduction, elimination and construction.
“Firstly, substitution method involves the use of skimmed milk instead of full cream milk, almond milk and any non-diary creamer as better substitute for milk.
“Reduction method means fats, oil and grease in stews, soups, sauces, savories and animal products should be reduced and consumed in small quantity.
The elimination method means eliminating high fat foods which include red meat, fried foods, pastries and heavy salad dressings, among others.
While the construction method involves the need for everyone to cook their food containing more of fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.
Abagail advised Nigerians to eat healthy and take smart decisions while shopping their groceries.