Limit Trans-Fats and Saturated Fats to Reduce Heart Disease Risk - WHO

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a public consultation on draft guidelines for intake of saturated fats and trans-fats.  The guidelines aim to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in adults and children.  The consultation, open until 1 June, will allow interested parties to comment on the draft guidelines before they are finalised towards the end of 2018.  WHO recommends that 10% or less of calories come from saturated fats and 1% or less from trans-fats.  It advises polyunsaturated fatty acids can be used as a replacement.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally and were responsible for more than 17 million deaths in 2016.  High intakes of saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids have been identified as major causes of CVD and death. Dr. Francesco Branca, director at WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, said CVDs are largely preventable by adopting a healthy diet, being physically active and eliminating tobacco and alcohol use.  “Generally healthy diets are mainly based on plant foods, are high in unrefined carbohydrates, low in free sugars and salt, high in fruits and vegetable sources. Dietary saturated fatty acid and trans fatty acids are of particular concern because high levels of intake are correlated with the increased risk of CVDs.”  

“We are talking about 250 calories coming from saturated fat and that is approximately a bit less than 30 grams of saturated fat,” he added.  This amount of fat could be reached by 50 g. of butter, 130-150 g. of cheese with 30% fat or 1L of full fat milk or 50 g. of palm oil, he said.

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