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Real Life Diet Questions Answered

Angela Dowden

Posted 30 Jun 09

Should I eat smoked mackerel as it's so high in fat?

Hi - I have been eating smoked peppered mackerel with salad for lunch thinking that it is a healthy - I'm horrified to discover the amount of fat my food diary claims it to have. I thought oily fish was good fat? Am I right in thinking the system does not distinguish between good and bad fats and so I should ignore this anyway and continue to eat it? Thanks Penny

Our expert says...

Hi Penny


Thank you for your query.  I'll be glad to help you with this dilemma.

First, please don't stop eating oily fish, as the oils they contain are really important for many health issues!

You are right that oily fish tend to be high in calories and fat.  Oily fish are cold water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout
, sardines and fresh tuna (not tinned tuna though, as the processing removes the good fats).   But these fish are worth the additional calories in my view, as the fat they contain is the good type of essential fat called Omega 3. Our bodies can't make this type of fatty acid, so we need to include it in our diet. There are many health benefits to eating Omega 3 fats and new ones are being found all the time. I am a huge fan!

For example, as well as reducing cholesterol, they are known to reduce blood pressure and blood stickiness, which may lead to a reduced risk of blood clots and heart attacks over time. Omega 3 fats are also anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation in the body and its associated pain.


Our website service currently only monitors  total fat and calories  - this is because when first developing it, we found from research that people found it quite hard to monitor more than a couple of things at once. So we decided to keep it simple and just focus on the two most important nutritional factors for weight loss. We are however planning on developing the service in future to allow the optional monitoring off additional things such as saturated fat.

I would encourage everyone to incorporate oily fish into their diet at least once a week, keeping an eye on your daily diet calories and fat levels and adjusting the rest of your food intake if necessary.  That way you will be getting the best nutritional value from your calories!



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