WHO: Eat less saturated, trans fats to curb heart disease

May 7, 2018 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

WHO: Eat less saturated, trans fats to curb heart disease

Adults and kids should consume a maximum of 10 percent of their daily calories in the form of saturated fat, the type of fat in meat and butter, and one percent from trans fats to reduce the risk of heart disease, the World Health Organization said last week.

The draft recommendations, the first since 2002, are aimed at reducing chronic diseases, led by cardiovascular diseases, blamed for 72 percent of the deaths worldwide every year, many before the age of 70.

Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids are of particular concern because high intakes are correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

The dietary recommendations are based on scientific evidence developed in the last 15 years, he added. 

The United Nations agency has invited public comments until June 1 on the recommendations, which it expects to finalize by year-end. 

Related: A primer on saturated fat

Saturated fat is found in foods from animal sources such as butter, cheese, milk, meat, poultry, salmon and egg yolks, and in some plant foods such as chocolate, cocoa butter and coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. 

If an active adult needs about 2,500 calories per day, that means no more than 250 of those calories should come from saturated fat, a little less than 30 grams per day. 

Trans fats

Trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products. But the predominant source is industry-produced trans fats in baked and fried foods and commercial pastries and snacks made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. 

In explicit new advice, WHO said that excessive amounts of saturated fat and trans fat should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats, found in fish, nuts and seeds and canola oil.

“Reduced intake of saturated fatty acids has been associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary heart disease when replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids or carbohydrates from whole grains,” the statement said.

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