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.

Objectives

This new 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 nutrient-based guidelines.

Expected Impact

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

What’s New

  • The first activity of this task force will evaluate the scientific rationale of current dietary recommendations on saturated fatty acids.

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

Task Force Members

 

Expert Groups

Update on Health Effects of Different Dietary Saturated Fats NEW

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 the first activity is to evaluate the validity of these challenges. Also, SFAs in the diet come in various types and from different food sources. These differences may influence effects of SFA on blood lipids and risk of heart disease and will also be addressed in this activity. To do this, the expert group will make an inventory of current dietary recommendations and food-based guidelines on SFA intake. In addition, the expert group will review the most recent scientific data on different types and sources of SFA and their cardiovascular health consequences. Then, looking at the totality of data, the expert group will assess whether recent challenges warrants adaptation of current dietary guidelines or not.

Activity

A critical review of recent (last 5 years) literature in this area will summarise and explain the commonalities and discrepancies of current nutrient-based recommendations and food-based guidelines on SFA types and sources. This will raise questions and hypotheses for future research. An evidence-based perspective on future trends for health / risk benefits associated with SFA food sources and individual SFAs will be developed.

Expected Output

This activity will provide suggestions for product reformulation and innovations. The document will serve as a basis for academics, the nutrition community, international and national organisations. Further, it could be translated into lay language for consumers by relevant organisations.

Expert Group Members

Update on Health Effects of Different Dietary Saturated Fats  NEW