The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that adults and children should consume a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake in the form of saturated fat (found in meat and butter) and 1% in trans fats.
Other facts & Figures:
- These draft recommendations, the first since 2002, are aimed at controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are responsible for an estimated 39.5 million death (72%) of the 54.7 million deaths worldwide in 2016.
- Of the major NCDs, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) were the leading cause of NCD mortality in 2016, and were responsible for nearly half of all NCD deaths. Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern as high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of CVDs, noted the WHO.
- “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.”
- The recommendations in these guidelines can be used by policymakers and programme managers to assess current intake levels of these fatty acids in their populations relative to a benchmark, with a view to develop measures to decrease the intake of saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids, where necessary, through a range of policy actions and public health interventions.
Saturated fatty acids & Trans-fatty acids:
- Saturated fatty acids are found in foods from animal sources such as butter, milk, meat, salmon, and egg yolks, and some plant-derived products such as chocolate and cocoa butter, coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.
- Trans-fatty acids can be industrially produced by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable and fish oils, but they also occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminant animals (for example, cattle, sheep, goats and camels). Industrially-produced trans-fatty acids can be found in baked and fried foods (doughnuts, cookies, crackers, pies, etc.), pre-packaged snacks and food, and in partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats that are often used at home, in restaurants, or by the informal sector, such as street vendors of food.
- The WHO had earlier released updated guidance on the intake of sodium, potassium and sugars, and is now looking at finalising a similar scale for the intake of saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids.