Adults and children should receive less than 10% of their daily energy intake from saturated fats and less than 1% from trans fats according to new World Health Organization (WHO) draft guideline.

The draft recommendation, published on 4 May, was aimed at reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of non-communicable deaths worldwide, Reuters reported on 4 May.
WHO said cardiovascular disease accounted for 72% of the estimated 54.7M globally every year.

“Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids are of particular concern because high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” Francesco Branca, director of WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, told the news agency.

The guidelines recommended replacing these fats by using polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in sunflower and soyabean oils.

“Reduced intake of saturated fatty acids has been associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary heart disease when replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids or carbohydrates from whole grains,” said the WHO.

Additionally, total fat consumption should not exceed 30% of total daily energy intake in order to avoid unhealthy weight gain.

A public comment period for the proposal was set to run until 1 June, giving WHO member states and any relevant stakeholders a chance to make their voice heard.

WHO recommendations are not legally binding and any possible regulatory responses are left for individual governments to decide on.