Knowledge for better food systems

It is time to revisit current dietary recommendations for saturated fat

Although there is no absolute consensus on the recommendation for total fat and dietary fat and saturated fat (SFA) intake between governing bodies and health organizations, there is a general sense of convergence. All guidelines currently suggest that total fat should not exceed 35% of daily calories. Although most guidelines propose a target for dietary SFA, there is no consensus on the value to aim for.

This paper reviews the scientific evidence on dietary saturated fats stating that the impact of these fats on blood cholesterol is undisputable, but that the resulting impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is not as straightforward.  The authors write that: “Based on recent controversial and inconsistent evidence from epidemiological and intervention studies, it seems reasonable to revisit this SFA–CVD scheme”.  


The extent to which a high intake of saturated fat (SFA) increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has become a highly controversial topic. Dietary SFA primarily raises low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, while having a relatively neutral impact on other key CVD risk factors. Recent epidemiological data also challenge the concept that SFA increases the risk of CVD. This short review provides arguments for the urgency to re-assess the association between dietary SFA and CVD risk in light of recent data on the subject.


Lamarche, B., Couture, P., 2014, It is time to revisit current dietary recommendations for saturated fat, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 10.1139/apnm-2014-0141

Read the full open access paper here.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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