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  1. Confused about fats?

    All about fats

    Consumers are often confused about fats

    In a survey conducted by the IEM back in 2009, where 6426 consumers from 16 countries were interviewed,wefound that consumer knowledge about fat was conflicting:

    • 59% of respondents thought that fat should be avoided,
    • 65% thought a low fat diet is a healthy diet, and
    • 38% claimed to avoid foods containing fat.

    Respondents were aware of different types of fats but did not know which ones were healthier. Omegas have the greatest level of recognition but at the same time many people don’t realize that they are fats.


    Links and references


    Confused about fat


    Messages that consumers understand

    • Fat is necessary for good health.” Some fat is necessary for good health. The types found in foods like nuts, seafood, and vegetable oils are better for you.
    • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthier than saturated and trans fats.” When choosing foods with fats and oils, look for the “UN”: polyUNsaturatedand monoUNsaturatedfats rather than saturated and trans fats.
    • Healthier fats keep your heart healthy.” Healthier fats keep you healthy: look for the UNsaturatedtypes (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) found in foods like nuts, seafood, and vegetable oils used for cooking and in packaged products.
    • For most people, a moderate fat diet means eating up to 65 grams of fat per day.” Most people can eat up to 65 grams of fat in day on a moderate fat diet. This means that favorite foods (like ice cream and steak) that have more fat CAN fit if you choose other foods that are low in fat (like fruits, vegetables and whole grains).

    In addition, new messaging concepts should be considered:

    • Address the misperception by younger men that exercise means they can eat what ever they want with no repercussions.
    • Address the misperception by women that fat is only a weight (calorie) issue rather than a heart health issue for them.
    Consumer-friendly answers to frequently asked questions can be found in the FAQ section of this website.
    • “‘Consumers do sometimes not follow the information that comes from academics. Simply because it is put in a language that consumers cannot understand.’” (2009)

      Prof. Ibrahim Elmadfa
      Director, Institute of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, President of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences
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