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Total fat intake per country versus the recommended range of 20-35% daily energy
Saturated fatty acids intake per country versus the recommended maximum of 10% daily energy
Poly unsaturated fatty acids intake per country versus the recommended range of 6-11% daily energy
Dietary Fat Intake – A Global Perspective Elmadfa, I.; Kornsteiner, M. Ann Nutr Metab 2009;54(suppl 1):8–14

¹ of Guangxi Bai Ku Yao and Han populations
Key scientific facts  >  Fat intake
The paradox about fat is that it makes foods taste yummy, but can contribute to heart disease and other health problems. The key is to choose the types and amounts of fat we eat wisely.

Joyce Nettleton
DSc; Specialist in seafood nutrition and science communication.
Choosing the right type
of fat can often be confusing with the talk about saturated, unsaturated, trans, omega’s, etc. so to make it simple focus more on plant based fats like nuts, seeds, oils and margarines made from oil...
... Trans fatty acids continue to decrease in frequency of use but it is still important that you check food labels to make sure the type of fat used is not a partially hydrogenated fat.

Connie Diekman
Connie Diekman is Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Fat intake

Fat consumption contributes to the most prevalent chronic diseases in the world—cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, overweight and obesity and others. Recognition that the type of fats (dietary fat quality) is more important than the total quantity consumed has encouraged health authorities around the world to examine the amounts and types of fat consumed in their respective countries.

Simple information on the different types of fats can be found in the FAQ section of this website.

Total fats

The contribution of fats to daily energy consumption varies among countries. In most countries, total fat intake is within recommendations (20-35% energy) or slightly above. Only a few countries show extreme fat intake: either very low in Tanzania and some provinces in China, or very high as in Nigeria, Cameroon or Greece.

Saturated fatty acids (SFA)

SFA consumption exceeds recommendations in most Western countries: Europe, North America and Australia. African countries with high total fat intake also show high SFA intake. In Asia, SFA intake is within recommendations with the notable exception of India, which has excessive SFA consumption.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA)

In most countries, total PUFA intake is below the recommended range of 6-11% daily energy. The majority of these PUFA are omega-6 PUFA. Data regarding omega-3 PUFA intake are more scarce, especially for long-chain omega-3. However available data suggest that populations with low PUFA intake are even more likely to have suboptimal intakes of omega-3 PUFA, especially the long-chain omega-3 PUFA.

Trans fatty acids (TFA)

Trans fatty acids, which are formed during the partial hydrogenation of unsaturated oils in the manufacture of solid fats markedly increase the risk of CVD by raising total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels, reducing high-density lipoprotein concentrations and adversely affecting the physical characteristics of cell membranes. Trans fatty acids also occur naturally in the in the rumen of ruminants. Efforts to reduce industrially produced TFA in the food supply in the U.S.A., European Union and Latin America have made some progress, but intakes remain significantly above recommended levels in many lower income countries. Consuming low fat meat and dairy products can help limiting both SFA intake and TFA intake from natural origin.

Fatty acid intake in children and adolescents

Patterns of fatty acid intake data in children and adolescents are similar to those for adults. Data from thirty countries were reviewed in 2011: in 28 countries, mean saturated fat intakes were higher than the recommended maximum of 10% energy, whereas in 21 out of 30 countries mean PUFA intakes were below recommendations. More and better intake data are needed, in particular for developing regions of the world. Additional research is needed to determine whether improved fatty acid intakes in childhood reduce the risk of heart disease later in life. Despite these limitations, the available data indicate that in the majority of the countries providing data on fatty acid intake, less than half of the children and adolescents meet the recommendations for healthy intakes of SFA and PUFA.