Health: Looking After Your Heart

Fats and Sugars

"97% FAT FREE!"

Are you aware that sometimes the above statement - 97% FAT FREE - does not rule out the fact it could be packed with sugar?

Most people understand that the body breaks down carbohydrates into a sugar called glucose. So if you are going to eat things like white bread or have a teaspoon or two in a cup of tea or coffee that will have a similar effect on your body.

Many people would be shocked to find out exactly how much sugar they consume regularly if they rely on a diet presented by the food stores.

Eating a bowl of some breakfast cereals may mean placing into your system as much as two tablespoons of highly processed sugar! Most foods these days has sugar added; samples would be: white bread, cake, biscuits, muesli bars, dried fruit, low fat yoghurt, chocolate, baked beans, peanut butter, jam, tinned fruit and that is only some! Many people like to add sauces to their food.

They could include pre-made casserole, stir fry, and pasta sauces, all generally with large amounts of sugar.

Soft drinks like coke, lemonade, fruit juice, or cordial all contain large levels of sugar. So picturing you have only consumed what is considered to be a normal breakfast and your daily total of sugar intake is already excessive.

Food manufacturers worked out years ago that adding a little bit of sugar to their products made them far more desirable to consumers. Now almost every type of pre-packaged or processed food we eat has some type of sugar added.

At the top of the page it was mentioned that 97% fat free often means "packed with sugar". Many will remember when "fat free" products first appeared in the stores? They tasted bland and boring so to enhance the flavours and make the products more appealing food manufacturers just added sugar. The products became tastier and sold better.

An unwary public that has beeen attempting to eat better, with 'low fat health food' has been somewhat hoodwinked into eating high sugar 'junk type foods'

People need to be made aware that some "low-fat" products now have sugar as their primary ingredient!

As we age it is more difficult to shed unwanted weight! Would you allow your grand children to eat lollies for breakfast, lunch and tea if they were labelled 'low-fat'? No you would not because of the sugar content; sugar is not bad but excess sugar and especially colourings can kill!

Unfortunately, manufacturers selling products to a health conscious consumer have hoodwinked many into eating excessive amounts of sugar with every meal!

The Hidden Sugars

Even when a food is labelled 'No Added Sugar' you may still be consuming more sugar than you think. It should be noted that the only ingredient that manufacturers must label as sugar by law is sucrose. However,other replacement sugars that may have been added could be labelled as follows:

•  Brown sugar

•  Corn Syrup

•  Dextrose

•  Fructose/Raw Sugar

•  Honey

•  Lactose

•  Maltose

•  Maltodextrin

•  Molasses

•  White Grape Juice

Some of these are very natural sugars and harmless, even beneficial in themselves, but mixed with other amounts of sugar in manufactured products simply means they add to the sugar content.

So a 'no added sugar' product may have actually a lot of sugars added under any number of names and combinations, including those mentioned above.

There is a little trick manufactures often to use in labelling and it is called 'make the customer read the label'. But be aware that a product labelled 'low in sugar' could have other sugars down the ingredients list. This can be done by splitting the sugars between numbers of different types. Assume a product is 40% sugar.

Rather than showing the sugar as the first or second ingredient, manufacturers may use 20% dextrose and 20% fructose, therefore moving the 'sugar' content further down the label! Watch for multiple entries that really mean the same thing: SUGAR!

When reading the ingredients label and nutritional panel, customer can quickly find if a product is high in sugary carbohydrates or not.


Eating at home is helpful to a good diet however to make it such it also means learning to put meals together that are nutritous and not too expensive. Most 'learn to' books and programmes are not particularly appropriate to most of our lives however we can learn the basics from them and make things up ourselves. Experiment! Watch shows like "Iron Chef" rather than Masterchef as it gives the amateur ideas of how experimentation works with different ingredients. A good rule for nutrition is to use only what are called one ingredient foods - not processed.

Do not be afraid to learn from the experts, maybe you cannot copy them but it is still possible to learn from them.

Different Types of Fats

There are good fats and bad fats most people would have heard of animal fats, vegetable fats, saturated fats and cholesterol.

Lots of names can be very confusing, you really need to know what they mean and about the foods that contain them and more importantly what these fats can do to your health.

The foods that we eat contain a mixture of three main types of fats and they are polyunsaturated, saturated and monounsaturated. Other types of fats that you may know about are Omega-3, Omega-6, Trans fats and cholesterol.

Starting with Saturated Fat

This is the fat that will raise blood cholesterol and largely increases the risk of heart disease. You will find this fat is mainly in animal foods like fatty meats, dairy products like milk, cheese and butter. You can also find it a number of plant foods, coconut and palm oil. You will find that saturated fats are commonly used in commercially produced foods.

Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fat is noted as being almost the reverse to Saturated fat because it assist in lowering blood cholesterol and thereby reduce risks of heart disease. It is to be found in plant foods like nuts and seeds, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils and commonly found in oily seafood, fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats:

These are all types of polyunsaturated fats, good fats! Omega-3 fats are mostly found in fish and Omega-6 fats can be found in vegetable oils.

Monounsaturated Fat:

Have also been found to assist in lowing blood cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fat is in lean meats and other oils like canola and olive, plus plant foods like avocados, nuts and seeds.

Trans Fats:

Trans fats have been found to increase your risk of heart disease almost as much as saturated fat. However, it should be noted that Trans fats occur naturally in small quantises in meat, dairy foods and in some selected processed vegetable oils.

The main sources of Trans fats can be found in manufactured foods which use hydrogenated vegetable fats, like baked products, pies, pastries, cakes, biscuits, buns and a number of commercially deep fried foods and hard margarines.


What is Cholesterol? It is a very fatty substance that is an important part of all animals. The human body produce it naturally! Even if you don't consume it!

Cholesterol becomes a big problem when you have too much in your blood. Everyone at some point needs to see a doctor and have a blood test to check Cholesterol levels. It is a simple procedure and you can have results and an answer very quickly.

Sterols and Stanols:

Worth knowing! Sterols and stanols are a plant form of cholesterol that can be found in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. When consumed, they help prevent your body from absorbing the cholesterol eaten.

In more recent times advances in manufacturing have improved and enabled manufactures to add them in larger amounts to foods such as margarine, but they are still present in small amounts in most plant foods.

Please Note: No medical information is published on this website and articles show are not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and the reader is advised not to take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

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