Lifting the Ban on Total Dietary Fat

Posted on: June 30, 2015

The current upper limit on total fat intake presents an obstacle to sensible change unhealthy eating patterns, promoting harmful low-fat foods, undermining attempts to limit intakes of refined starch and added sugar, and discouraging the restaurant and food industry from providing products higher in healthful fats. This states  Dr. D. Mozaffarian c.s. in an article in the June 2015-edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.  In his article he concludes that a restructuring of US national nutritional policy is warranted to move away from total fat reduction and toward healthy food choices, including those higher in healthful fats.

Every 5 years, the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services jointly release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines have far-reaching influences across the food supply. In the coming months, the Dietary Guidelines will be finalized.

Integral to this process is the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report, prepared by appointed scientists who systematically review the literature and provide evidence-based recommendations to the secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Referring to this report, which was published 25 March 2015, Mozaffarian emphasises that the DGAC neither listed total fat as a nutrient of concern nor proposed restricting its consumption. Rather, it concluded, “Reducing total fat (replacing total fat with overall carbohydrates) does not lower CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk.… Dietary advice should put the emphasis on optimizing types of dietary fat and not reducing total fat.” Limiting total fat was also not recommended for obesity prevention; instead, the focus was placed on healthful food-based diet patterns.  For the full article click here.

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