More emphasis on the prevention of heart and vascular diseases

Posted in: News- Feb 19, 2015

Saturated fats limited to a maximum of 10% of energy intake

During Heart Week the importance of eating healthy and having a healthy lifestyle cannot be emphasised enough. A panel of 15 international experts recently reviewed the recommendations for treatment and prevention of high blood cholesterol values. High blood cholesterol was again confirmed to be an important risk factor for heart and vascular diseases.

Heart Week is taking place from 23 to 27 September. Its main aim is the primary prevention of cardiovascular problems, meaning that people without health problems are made aware of the possible risks.

A panel of international experts emphasized the importance of eating healthy and pursuing a healthy lifestyle in maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels, because this reduces the risk of heart and vascular diseases. They make the following recommendations:

-     Limit the intake of saturated fats to less than 10% of the total energy intake. Use sufficient omega-3 polyunsaturated fats

-     Focus on plant-based food: lots of vegetables, pulses, soy and fruit, nuts and seeds, plant-based fats or oil

-       Limit salt intake (less than 2 grams per day)

-       Limit your alcohol consumption: maximum 2 glasses per day for men and 1 glass for women

-       Take sufficient exercise: 30 minutes of physical activity each day

“During Heart Week we want to emphasise in particular that we need to limit the intake of saturated fats as much as possible”, affirmed Stephanie De Vriese, Dr Nutrition Scientist at Alpro. The expert report, published on 25 July 2013, shows that, ideally, only 7% of our total energy intake can be saturated fats, with a maximum of 10%. This corresponds to 15 g of saturated fats that we find in e.g. 100 g full-fat cheese or 200 g of minced meat. To bring about this change in the fatty acid profile of what we consume, we should aim at replacing the main sources of saturated fat in our diet with products with a more favorable fatty acid profile. This can easily be done by eating more nuts, fish and soy products and less red meat and dairy products. Furthermore, it is generally recommended that we should consume more plant-based products and less animal products. For example, soy-based products have a favorable fatty acid profile; they are low in saturated fat and at the same time contain the favorable omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other plant-based products such as drinks based on almonds, rice or hazelnuts are also included in this healthy diet.

Reference: An International Atherosclerosis Society Position Paper: Global recommendations for the management of dyslipidemia.