SANTA CRUZ, Calif.Dietary fat for the healthy adult population should provide 20 to 35 percent of energy with an increased consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and limited intake of saturated and trans fats, according to a new position paper written for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Jan;114(1):136-53). The paper, written by nutritional consultant and omega-3 expert Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN and Heather Rasmussen, PhD, RD, of Rush University Medical Center, updated the 2007 position of the academy.
The authors point out that dietary fat recommendations aren't as simple as saturated or unsaturated because fatty acids within these groups influence health and disease risk in different ways. For example, the health impact of ALA is different from EPA omega-3; the health impact of lauric differs from stearic saturated fatty acids. Healthcare providers, dietitian nutritionists, the food and supplement industries and the general public need to become aware of the specific fatty acids within the general fat categories.
It is noted that the type of fat that is consumed is just as important as the amount of fat that is consumed. The paper 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. Along with those recommendations, the paper also states that many Americans have replaced saturated fat in their diet with refined carbohydrates, increasing their risk of diabetes and heart disease. Replacing saturated fats, typically solid fats, with polyunsaturated foods, typically liquid oils, and more vegetables is a healthier choice.