The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) in its new report has confirmed that reduction in the intake of saturated fat lowers total cholesterol levels and cuts the risk for heart disease. SACN is an expert advisory committee which provides advice to Public Health England (PHE) and other government agencies across the UK regarding nutrient content of foods, diet and nutritional status of people.
Some key highlights from the SACN report which is based on 47 systematic reviews and meta-analyses include the following:
- Higher intake of saturated fat is associated with elevated blood cholesterol and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Saturated fats in the diet should be replaced by unsaturated fats.
- The current advice that saturated fat should not account for more than ~10% of food energy remains valid.
Findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey suggest that mean intakes of saturated fats remain well above the recommended limits. In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, the mean intakes as a percentage of total dietary energy were 12.4 per cent to 13.0 per cent in children aged 4 to 18 years, 11.9 per cent in adults aged 19 to 64 years, 12.5 per cent in individuals aged 65 to 74 years and 14.3 per cent in individuals aged ≥75 years.
Professor Louis Levy, Head of Nutrition Science at PHE, said: "We all need to take action, but food manufacturers, suppliers and caterers have a particular responsibility in helping people to do this."