Calories

A measure of how much fat, protein and carbohydrate a food contains, calories represent the raw energy that fuels your body. They’re also a convenient way of monitoring the amount of energy you take in each day when you’re watching your weight. All food supplies you with calories, the ‘fuel’ your body burns to produce energy and keep you alive. Each kind of nutrient provides a different amount of energy for its weight. That’s why some foods are higher in calories, and therefore more fattening, than others.

Sugar

When most people talk about sugar they are usually referring to sucrose – the white granulated form of sugar added to drinks or food at the table. But the term ‘sugars’ actually refers to number of different compounds, including fructose, the sugar in fruit, and lactose, the sugar found in milk. Nutritionists refer to these sugars as intrinsic sugars because they are naturally occurring in food.
While it’s not practical or necessary to restrict sucrose completely in your diet, sugary foods or drinks between meals can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Fat

It’s important to have some fat in your diet since it performs many useful functions, helping you absorb certain vitamins and providing energy and essential fatty acids that can’t be made by the body. The key to maintaining a healthy level of fat in your diet lies in choosing the right type of fat as much as watching how much fat you eat.

Saturated Fats

Eating too much saturated fat is linked with raised blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. Foods typically high in saturated fat include cheese, butter, lard, meat products such as pies and sausages, palm oil and coconut oil.

Trans Fats

Found in biscuits, cakes, pastry and fast foods, trans fats have a similar effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fats.

Unsaturated Fats

Found in biscuits, cakes, pastry and fast foods, trans fats have a similar effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fats.

Salt

A high salt intake is believed to be a major factor in the development of high blood pressure, a condition that affects one in three adults in the UK and ROI.
 
As high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, anything we can do to bring it down – including reducing the amount of salt we take in – has got to be a good thing.
 
Clearly, going easy on the salt at mealtimes is one of the simplest ways to cut down on the amount we eat. Unfortunately, things aren’t quite that straightforward; around three quarters of the salt in our diets actually comes from processed food, so it’s important to check the GDA for salt on packet foods that you buy.
 
Remember, the Guideline Daily Amount for salt is 6g for adults and 4g for children aged between 5-10 years.