Health effects of dietary fats – Is it a matter of quantity or quality?

Background

In the past, research focused mainly on the health effects of major classes of dietary fatty acids (i.e. polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), saturated fatty acid (SFA), and trans fatty acid (TFA)). However, today more and more research puts the spotlight on the health effects of individual fatty acids within these classes, including specific SFA. Recent data are challenging the old dogma that intake of specific classes of fats must be limited. The time is ripe to investigate the scientific knowledge on different dietary fats on health and the apparent discrepancies between effects of different fatty acids within each class.

What’s New

The new activity on ‘Update on Health Effects of Different Dietary Saturated Fats’ aims to critically analyse the relation between different types and sources of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and their health effects.

Objectives

The Qualitative Fat Intake Task Force aims to collect and review recent scientific publications on the effects of the intake of
dietary fats on human health, both when they occur as part of food or as individual fatty acids. Another aim is to assess country
differences in dietary recommendations on dietary fats, some of which are food-based dietary guidelines and others are nutrientbased guidelines.

Impact

This task force will provide an evidence-based perspective on future trends for health/risk benefits associated with individual fats. These scientific results can be used to improve food quality and will pave the way forward for future strategies in food reformulations and the food processing chain in Europe.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Belén Márquez García at BMarquezGarcia@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

 

Expert Groups

Update on Health Effects of Different Dietary Saturated Fats

Objectives

Recent data are challenging the old dogma that the intake of all SFAs must be limited to reduce risk of cardio-vascular diseases. The objective of this activity is to evaluate the validity of these challenges. There are various types of SFAs in the diet and they come from different food sources. Both the type of SFA and the food source of SFA may differentially effect on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk and the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases. The expert group will perform a systematic review of the different types and sources of SFA and their cardiometabolic health consequences. They will also assess whether recent challenges of current dietary guidelines are valid or not.

Activity

The expert group will first look into the role of the individual SFA types and subsequently they will explore their food sources. The results will be published in 2 manuscripts. The first phase of the activity will be a systematic review of the scientific literature reporting on the impact of individual dietary SFAs on traditional and novel biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, on the one hand, and associations between dietary intake of individual SFAs and health outcomes, on the other hand. The aim is to reflect whether dietary guidelines should differentiate individual SFAs or not. In a second phase, the expert group will explore whether the health effect of SFA depends on the food matrix. An evidence-based perspective on future trends for health/risk benefits associated with individual SFAs, and where possible SFA food sources, will be developed.

Expected Output

This activity will provide suggestions for product reformulation and innovations. The resulting two peer-reviewed manuscripts will serve as a basis for academics, the nutrition community, international and national organisations. Further, they could be translated into lay language for consumers by relevant organisations.

Expert Group Members

Update on Health Effects of Different Dietary Saturated Fats