Amount and types of fat we eat affect health and risk of disease

January 10, 2014

Healthy adults should consume between 20 percent and 35 percent of their calories from dietary fat, increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, and limit their intake of saturated and trans fats, according to an updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The position paper "Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults" has been published in the January issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The position paper provides guidance for registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered to translate research on fat and into practical dietary recommendations for consumers.

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that dietary fat for the healthy adult population should provide 20 percent to 35 percent of energy, with an increased consumption of n-3 and limited intake of saturated and . The Academy recommends a food-based approach through a diet that includes regular consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

Registered dietitian nutritionists can help consumers understand that a total diet approach is more beneficial than simply reducing and replacing it with carbohydrates, as a high intake of refined carbohydrate can also negatively affect .

The Academy's position paper can be translated into healthful eating messages for the public:

  • A simple and effective way to improve health is to eat more fish, nuts and seeds and to consume fewer desserts and convenience foods.
  • Fat is a critical nutrient, and certain types of fat, such as omega-3s and omega-6s, are needed for good health. For this and other health reasons, a fat-free diet is not recommended.
  • Fish is an excellent source of the omega-3s EPA and DHA; flax, walnuts and canola oil are good sources of ALA omega-3.
  • Both the amount of fat (how much) and the type of fat (what foods) in the diet can affect health and risk of disease.
  • Different foods provide different types of fat. Some fats improve your health (omega-3s help your heart and brain) while some are detrimental to your health (trans fat increases heart disease risk factors).

Explore further: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reinforces importance of food, not supplements

More information: "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults." Gretchen Vannice, Heather Rasmussen Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - January 2014 (Vol. 114, Issue 1, Pages 136-153, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.11.001)

Related Stories

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reinforces importance of food, not supplements

December 18, 2013
While dietary supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs, eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best way for most people to obtain the nutrients they need to be healthy and reduce their risk ...

Researchers see added nutritional benefits in organic milk

December 9, 2013
A team led by a Washington State University researcher has found that organic milk contains significantly higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids compared to milk from cows on conventionally managed dairy farms. ...

Eating fish, nuts may not help thinking skills after all

September 25, 2013
Contrary to earlier studies, new research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may not benefit thinking skills. The study is published in the September 25, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American ...

What's healthier, butter or margarine?

December 16, 2013
Butter gets points for taste; margarine for being easy to spread. But the healthiest option is not strictly called butter or margarine – it's a "spread".

Coconut oil is the latest food trend offering health claims

November 15, 2013
Coconut oil is returning to the kitchen, thanks to a boost from those in the nutrition business who have taken a fresh look at the numbers.

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.