Britons are consuming enough saturated fat per year from ‘healthy’ olive oil to fill more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools, a figure that could be halved by consumers making the quick and easy switch to British rapeseed oil.

For every 100g bottle of olive oil consumed, on average 14g of this is saturated fat, compared to rapeseed oil which contains less than 7g.

According to the most recent figures from the International Olive Oil Council, the UK is consuming 59,000 tonnes¹ of olive oil per year, 8260 tonnes worth of which is saturated fat.

NHS guidelines state that the average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, and no more than 20g for women².  However, according to the British Dietetic Association, most people eat about 20 per cent more than the recommended maximum levels³

A recent survey by Sainsbury’s also found that 85 per cent of people did not know how much saturated fat was a healthy amount.

Ben Guy, the managing director of the UK’s leading Cold Pressed Oil producer, Borderfields, said: “When you look at figures like this you realise what a big difference a simple switch from olive oil to rapeseed oil could make and what an impact it could have on the health of the nation.”

Guy added: “Shoppers switching from olive oil to rapeseed oil are also supporting our British farming communities and ultimately boosting our economy economy too.”

The British Government is trying to remove more than ‘one and a half Olympic size swimming pools of saturated fat’³ from our diets.

This target was set by Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, who last year launched the Responsibility Deal Saturated Fat Reduction Pledge.

Michelin Star chef Kenny Atkinson, said: “Saturated fat is contained in many common foods – it really is very easy to exceed the recommended maximum amount but there are so many simple changes people could make when they’re cooking in the kitchen at home. For instance, why not try replacing olive oil or butter with rapeseed oil for making a delicious mash potato?”

According to the NHS, eating a diet that is high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. Having high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease.

The Department of Health said cutting the amount of saturated fat in people’s diets by 15 per cent could prevent around 2,600 premature deaths every year from conditions such as heart disease and stroke.4

According to an independent survey of over 1100 UK consumers conducted by Borderfields, 58 per cent of respondents said they would consider switching from olive to rapeseed oil when it was explained that it is less than half the saturated fat of olive oil and is produced in Britain.