The agency is urging consumers to make small changes to their diet to lower their intake of saturated fat, which increases cholesterol levels in the blood.
The public should opt for low fat milk instead of semi-skimmed, select leaner cuts of meat and try to cut down on unhealthy snacks, the FSA advises.
Substituting butter for margarine and frying food in vegetable oil are also encouraged.
Tim Smith, the agency’s chief executive, said that many people were unaware that they could prolong their lives by switching to easy alternatives to their favourite foods.
“It’s important to find ways to cut down, not give up. I learned to cut down cheese by grating it or using stronger flavour and I have cut down to 1 per cent milk rather than semi-skimmed,” he said. People tend to use less cheese in a meal if they have grated it.
Britons currently eat 20 per cent more than the recommended levels of saturated fat, according to the FSA, helping make heart disease the country’s most common cause of death, claiming 198,000 lives a year.
Cutting the among of energy we get from saturated fat from a national average of 13.3 per cent to 11 per cent would save 3,500 lives a year, the agency says.
The awareness campaign, involving a hard-hitting television advert and posters, is particularly targeted at slim people who may not realise the risks posed to their long term health by a fatty diet.
Heart surgeon Shyam Kolvekar, who is based at The London Heart Hospital, said: “I’m increasingly seeing patients as young as 40 in my surgery who do not realise the effect of the saturated fatty foods on their hearts such as butter, biscuits and snacks until it is too late.”