There’s so much temptation around these days when it comes to unhealthy snacking. Whether it’s for convenience or simply to satisfy those cravings, many of us are easily persuaded by the fatty and sugary treats that are found on the shelves and it’s quickly getting out of hand.
Consuming high levels of both sugar and fat can put a great deal of strain on our bodies, both could be key culprits in the rising levels of certain health conditions. Not only that, but getting your fix of these types of foods can quickly become an addiction, without you even realising it.
If you’ve been dipping your hands into the cookie jar a bit more often than you would like to admit, it’s well worth getting up to speed with the impact this could be having on your health and lifestyle. Here you’ll find a wealth of information about indulgent sugary and fatty treats, some of which might surprise you!
Small levels of fat and sugar are good for you
It’s important to emphasise the word “treat” here, as whilst a small amount of fat and sugar is good for our bodies, it can easily be overdone. Not only that, but there are different types of fats and sugars that are better for us than others and as such, it’s important to know the difference between them, as well as the recommended intake of each, in order to stay healthy.
Saturated and unsaturated fats
Unsaturated fats are much better for you than saturated fats. Whilst saturated fats are common in a lot of typically unhealthy foods including burgers and crisps, they are also found in a lot of meat and full fat dairy products, too. Unsaturated fats on the other hand, can be found in foods including nuts and seeds.
It’s absolutely fine to have a little saturated fat included in your diet, so long as you try to limit it as much as possible. The NHS recommends that the average adult should be consuming around 70g of fat, 50g of which should be unsaturated, leaving 20g as the absolute most amount of saturated fat consumed within a day.
Sugar is present in so many foods, but in various different forms. There are naturally occurring sugars found in milk and honey, for example, but many processed foods have large amounts of added sugar, referred to as ‘free’ sugar.
No matter what type of sugar you are consuming, however, the NHS recommends that no more than 90g of sugar should be consumed on a daily basis.
They lurk within many processed foods
Did you know that almost everything we eat is classed as processed food? The term “processed food” actually refers to food that has been changed in any way, before it is consumed. So something as small as chopping an apple can be classed as processed food!
However, there are different levels of processed foods and whilst sugar and fat is obviously present in the more heavily processed foods such as donuts and chips, they also lurk in some of the lesser processed foods, too.
For example, whilst you might find low-fat varieties of some less processed foods, sugar tends to be added to these to improve the taste. You will also find added sugars in the likes of pasta sauces and bread, too!
Fortunately, trans fats that are added to our foods as part of the manufacturing process is well on its way to being banned, however this won’t be eradicated until next year. As such, it’s vital that you begin checking the nutrition labels on any processed foods you buy, to make sure you aren’t overloading on sugar and fats in your food.
Top tips to enjoy treats and stay healthy
Treats are for the odd occasion such as birthdays, Christmas, or even for when you’ve reached a milestone in your healthy diet regime. It’s crucial to get the ratios right when it comes to eating healthily and allowing yourself a reward every now and then, so if you’re looking to cut back on the amount of fat and sugar you are consuming, begin with using these helpful tips.
Keep your cravings in check - Cravings are inevitable but there are ways of controlling them. It takes a little determination but simply swapping your unhealthy snacks with fresh fruit for when you get cravings will help to reduce the likelihood of you eating too much of these treats. From there, you can reward yourself with a treat if you manage to go a few days without!
Swap highly processed treats for some homemade versions - If you can learn to make your own version of the highly processed treat you love, you can still enjoy your favourite foods but in a healthier version.
Keep an eye on portion sizes - When you do allow yourself a treat every so often, it’s vital to make sure you’re not going over the top with your portion size. Otherwise, you face ruining all the hard work you’ve done in restricting the amount of treats you allow yourself to have! Use smaller plates and mugs for bowls and never eat something directly out of the container! We know how tempting it is to sneak a spoonful of ice cream straight out of the tub, only to find it hard resisting another few spoonfuls on top of that!
You could also research to find out how many servings are within a pack of your treats and splitting the pack out into the right number of servings.