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WHO recommends New limits of Saturated, Trans Fat Intake


WHO recommends New limits of Saturated, Trans Fat Intake

According to new draft guidelines on New limits of Saturated, Trans Fat Intakeproposed by World Health Organization (WHO), adults and children should consume a maximum of 10 percent of their daily calories in the form of saturated fats including meat and butter and one percent from trans fats for reducing the risk of heart disease.

The WHO guidelines are aimed at the reduction of non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which accounts for 72 percent of the 54.7 million estimated deaths worldwide every year, many before the age of 70. The major causes of CVDs include unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use, and physical inactivity. Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern as their high intake is linked to increased risk of CVDs.

“Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern because high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases,” Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, said.

Saturated fatty acids are found in foods from animal sources including cow’s milk, salmon, butter and egg yolk, and some plant-derived products including palm kernel oils, coconut, palm, cocoa butter, and chocolate.

An active adult needs about 2,500 calories per day, Branca said.“So we are talking about 250 calories coming from saturated fat and that is approximately a bit less than 30 grams of saturated fat,” he said.That amount of fat could be found in 50 grams (1.76 oz) of butter, 130-150 grams of cheese with 30 percent fat, a liter of full-fat milk, or in 50 grams of palm oil, he said.

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that is found in meat and dairy products. But the predominant source is industrially-produced and contained in baked and fried foods such as fries and doughnuts, snacks, and partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats often used by restaurants and street vendors.

The draft guidelines were developed in accordance with WHO’s procedures for evidence-informed guideline development.

Key Recommendations by WHO include : 

  • Excessive amounts of saturated fat and trans fat should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, canola and olive oils
  • Reduced intake of saturated fatty acids have been associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary heart disease when replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids or carbohydrates from whole grains
  • Total fat consumption should not exceed 30 percent of total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain
  • Help create and support healthy eating patterns in various settings, including home, work, and school
  • Limit added sugars (<10% of calories), sodium (<2300 mg/day for those aged 14 and older), and saturated fats (<10%). Avoid trans fats
  • Choose a healthy eating pattern that you can stick to over the long term. Consider personal taste preferences, culture, and budget.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

“No more than 10% of daily calories should come from saturated fat, and trans fats should contribute 1% or less,” sums up the purpose of the draft guidelines.

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Medha Baranwal

Medha Baranwal

Medha Baranwal joined Medical Dialogues as a Desk Editor in 2018 for Speciality Medical Dialogues. She covers several medical specialties including Cardiac Sciences, Dentistry, Diabetes and Endo, Diagnostics, ENT, Gastroenterology, Neurosciences, and Radiology. She has completed her Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from DU and then pursued Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University. She can be contacted at medha@medicaldialogues.in. Contact no. 011-43720751
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