The World Health Organization has updated its guidance on total fat, saturated and trans-fat and carbohydrates, based on the latest scientific evidence.
The three new guidelines – Saturated fatty acid and trans-fatty acid intake for adults and children, Total fat intake for the prevention of unhealthy weight gain in adults and children, and Carbohydrate intake for adults and children – contain recommendations that aim to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
With its guidance on dietary fat, WHO notes that both quantity and quality are important for good health. The UN health agency reaffirms that an adult person should limit total fat intake to 30 percent of total energy intake or less. Fat consumed by a person should be primarily unsaturated fatty acids, with no more than 10 percent of total energy intake coming from saturated fatty acids and not more than 1 percent of total energy intake from trans-fatty acids from both industrially produced and ruminant animal sources.
Saturated and trans-fatty acids in the diet can be replaced with other nutrients such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids from plant sources, or carbohydrates from foods containing natural dietary fibre, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and pulses.
Together with WHO’s existing guidance to limit free sugars intake, the new guidance on carbohydrate intake highlights the importance of carbohydrate quality for good health.
As per WHO’s new recommendation, carbohydrate intake for a person should come primarily from whole grains, vegetables, fruits and pulses. WHO recommends that adults consume at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruits and 25 grams of natural dietary fibre every day.
For the first time, it has also issued guidance for children and adolescents regarding intakes of vegetables and fruits.
People in the 2-5 age group should consume at least 250 grams of vegetables and fruits per day. For people who are 6 to 9 years old, it should be at least 350 gram per day. WHO recommends that people older than 10 years should eat at least 400 grams of ovegetables and fruits per day.
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