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AHA advises adults to eat 5-6% cal from SFA to lower LDL cholesterol

January 1, 2013


Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Fat Recommendations


• Advise adults who would benefit from lowering LDL cholesterol to aim for a healthy dietary pattern* that achieves 5-6% of calories from SFA. Replace with MUFA & PUFA.

• Reduce % of calories from TFA.

For example, based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, a heart-healthy eating pattern that is consistent with a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)-type eating plan could include:

 Fruits: 4-5 servings a day

 Vegetables: 4-5 servings a day

 Whole grains, preferably high fiber: 6-8 servings a day

 Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products: 2-3 servings a day

 Lean meats, poultry and fish: 6 or fewer ounces a day

 Nuts, legumes and seeds: 4-5 servings a week

 Fats and oils: 2-3 servings of healthy oils per day, limit trans and saturated fat

 Limit sweets, sodium, and added sugars

The same DRI publication also issued recommendations for saturated fat intake. Saturated fatty acids have physiologic and structural functions and our bodies produce them in adequate amounts to meet these needs. Because they have no known role in preventing chronic disease, there is not an Adequate Intake or Recommended Dietary Allowance for these fats. In addition, there is a positive linear relationship between saturated fat intake and LDL cholesterol, which increases risk of CHD. Thus, increasing saturated fat intake increases CHD risk. However, it is not feasible or even recommended to achieve 0% of energy from saturated fats because all dietary fats contain mixtures of fatty acids. Of note is that some fats, principally liquid vegetable oils, are low in saturated fats and high in healthy unsaturated fats. This is why current dietary guidance recommends replacing food sources of saturated fat with foods containing unsaturated fat.