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Cardiovascular disease: Reducing saturated fat lowers risk

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Main sources of saturated fats have changed little The main sources of saturated fats have changed little in the last 30 years

Higher saturated fat consumption is linked to raised blood cholesterol, a report published by Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has found.

The report also found that higher intakes of saturated fat are associated with increased risk of heart disease, saturated fats should be swapped with unsaturated fats, and there is no need to change current advice that saturated fat should not exceed around 10% of food energy.

‘Looking at the evidence, our report confirms that reducing saturated fat lowers total blood cholesterol and cuts the risk of heart disease,’ said Professor Paul Haggarty, Chair of the Saturated Fats and Health Working Group of SACN. ‘Our advice remains that saturated fats should be reduced to no more than about 10% of dietary energy.’

Survey data 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.

‘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,’ said Professor Louis Levy, Head of Nutrition Science at Public Health England. ‘We all need to take action, but food manufacturers, suppliers and caterers have a particular responsibility in helping people to do this.’

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