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Reducing Saturated Fat Lowers Blood Cholesterol and Risk of CVD

A report published by Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) on the role of saturated fats and health concludes there’s no need to change current advice.

The comprehensive review considers the considerable body of evidence published since the last review of the scientific evidence by the UK’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) in 1994.

Based on 47 systematic reviews and meta-analyses,SACN concludes that:

  • Higher saturated fat consumption is linked to raised blood cholesterol
  • Higher intakes of saturated fat are associated with increased risk of heart disease
  • Saturated fats should be swapped with unsaturated fats
  • There is no need to change current advice that saturated fat should not exceed around 10% of food energy

Professor Paul Haggarty, Chair of the Saturated Fats and Health Working Group of SACN, said: “Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease.

Our advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10% of dietary energy.”

Survey data since the 1980s shows that the main sources of saturated fats have changed little in the last 30 years. Intake of saturated fats has fallen over this time, but it remains above recommendations at around 12% of dietary energy.

Cereals and cereal products (for example, biscuits, cakes and pastries), milk and milk products (mainly cheese and milk), and meat and meat products are the main contributors to saturated fat intake.

Professor Louis Levy, Head of Nutrition Science at Public Health England (PHE), said: “SACN’s review supports and strengthens current advice. We recommend eating foods high in saturated fat less often and in smaller amounts and swapping to unsaturated fats to help achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

We all need to take action, but food manufacturers, suppliers and caterers have a particular responsibility in helping people to do this.”

Access the report here.

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