Question 1: What Are the Relationships Between Total Fat Intake and Health?
At low intakes of fat (< 20 percent of energy) and high intakes of carbohydrates (>65 percent of energy), risk increases for inadequate intakes of vitamin E, α linolenic acid, and linoleic acid and for adverse changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. At high intakes of fat (> 35 percent of energy), the risk increases for obesity and coronary heart disease (CHD). This is because fat intakes that exceed 35 percent of energy are associated with both increased calorie and saturated fat intakes. Total fat intake of 20 to 35 percent of calories is recommended for adults and 25 to 35 percent for children age 4 to 18 years. A fat intake of 30 to 35 percent of calories is recommended for children age 2 to 3 years.
Question 2: What Are the Relationships Between Saturated Fat Intake and Health?
The relationship between saturated fat intake and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is direct and progressive, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Thus, saturated fat consumption by adults should be as low as possible while consuming a diet that provides 20 to 35 percent calories from fat and meets recommendations for α linolenic acid and linoleic acid. In particular,
For adults with LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL, less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids is recommended.
For adults with an elevated LDL cholesterol (>130 mg/dL), less than 7 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids is recommended.2
Question 3: What Are the Relationships Between Trans Fat Intake and Health?
The relationship between trans fatty acid intake and LDL cholesterol is direct and progressive, increasing the risk of CHD. Trans fatty acid consumption by all population groups should be kept as low as possible, which is about 1 percent of energy intake or less.
Question 4: What Is the Relationships Between Cholesterol Intake and CVD?
The relationship between cholesterol intake and LDL cholesterol concentrations is direct and progressive, increasing the risk of CHD. Thus, cholesterol intake should be kept as low as possible within a nutritionally adequate diet. In particular,
For adults with an LDL cholesterol < 130 mg/dL, less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day is recommended.
For adults with an elevated LDL cholesterol (≥130 mg/dL), less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol per day is recommended.
Question 5: What Are the Relationships Between n-6 PUFA Intake and Health?
An n-6 PUFA intake between 5 to 10 percent of energy may confer beneficial effects on coronary artery disease mortality.
Question 6: What Are the Relationships Between n-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Health?
An α-linolenic acid intake between 0.6 to 1.2 percent of calories will meet requirements for this fatty acid and may afford some protection against CVD outcomes.
The consumption of two servings per week of fish high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with reduced risk of both sudden death and CHD death in adults. To benefit from the potential cardioprotective effects of EPA and DHA, the weekly consumption of two servings (approximately 8 ounces) of fish, particularly fish rich in EPA and DHA is suggested. Other sources of EPA and DHA may provide similar benefits; however, further research is warranted.
Question 7: What Are the Relationships Between MUFA Intake and Health?
There is an inverse relationship between the intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and the total cholesterol (TC):HDL cholesterol concentration ratio. If equal amounts of MUFAs are substituted for saturated fatty acids, LDL cholesterol decreases.