Monday June 17, 2019

Eat Less Saturated, Trans Fats to Curb Heart Disease: WHO

An active adult needs about 2,500 calories per day, Branca said

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The World Health Organization said Friday that adults and children should limit their intake of saturated fat — found in foods such a meat — and trans fat — found in foods such as french fries.
representational image. VOA

Adults and children should consume a maximum of 10 percent of their daily calories in the form of saturated fat such as meat and butter and one percent from trans fats to reduce the risk of heart disease, the World Health Organization said Friday.

The draft recommendations, the first since 2002, are aimed at reducing non-communicable diseases, led by cardiovascular diseases, blamed for 72 percent of the 54.7 million estimated deaths worldwide every year, many before the age of 70.

“Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern because high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases,” Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, told reporters.

The dietary recommendations are based on scientific evidence developed in the last 15 years, he added.

The United Nations agency has invited public comments until June 1 on the recommendations, which it expects to finalize by year-end.

Junk food.
Junk food. Pixabay

Saturated fat is found in foods from animal sources such as butter, cow’s milk, meat, salmon and egg yolks, and in some plant-derived products such as chocolate, cocoa butter, coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.

An active adult needs about 2,500 calories per day, Branca said.

“So we are talking about 250 calories coming from saturated fat and that is approximately a bit less than 30 grams of saturated fat,” he said.

That amount of fat could be found in 50 grams (1.76 oz) of butter, 130-150 grams of cheese with 30 percent fat, a liter of full fat milk, or 50 grams of palm oil, he said.

Trans fats

Trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products. But the predominant source is industrially-produced and contained in baked and fried foods such as fries and doughnuts, snacks, and partially hydrogenated cooking oils and fats often used by restaurants and street vendors.

In explicit new advice, WHO said that excessive amounts of saturated fat and trans fat should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats, such as fish, canola and olive oils.

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

Total fat consumption should not exceed 30 percent of total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain, it added.

The recommendations complement other WHO guidelines including limiting intake of free sugars and sodium. (VOA)

Next Story

HIV Patients at Higher Risk of Developing Heart Diseases

The researchers emphasised on the importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes smoking cessation, adequate physical activity, eliminating or reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and a healthy diet

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AIDS, Indonesia, HIV
Students with their faces painted with messages pose during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, in Chandigarh, India, May 20, 2018. (VOA)

HIV patients are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from heart and blood vessel diseases as compared to those without the infection, according to a new scientific statement.

In the statement, published in the Circulation journal, the researchers indicated that the heart disease risk among HIV patients occurs due to interactions between traditional risk factors, such as diet, lifestyle and tobacco use; and HIV-specific risk factors, such as a chronically activated immune system and inflammation characteristic of chronic HIV.

“Considerable gaps exist in our knowledge about HIV-associated diseases of the heart and blood vessels, in part because HIV’s transition from a fatal disease to a chronic condition is relatively recent, so long-term data on heart disease risks are limited,” said Matthew J. Feinstein, lead author and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

The statement, released by American Heart Association, highlighted that tobacco use, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, is common among people living with HIV.

Forty-two per cent of HIV patients were smokers, it said.

HIV. Pakistan
Participants hold placards in the shape of the red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, as a hot air balloon is released during an awareness campaign ahead of World AIDS Day in Kolkata, India. VOA

The researchers said that another risk factor is the aging population of HIV patients as 75 per cent of HIV patients are over 45 years of age.

“Aging with HIV differs greatly from the aging issues facing the general population,” said Jules Levin, Founder and Executive Director of the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project.

“On average, people living with HIV who are over 60 years old have 3-7 medical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, kidney disease, frailty and bone diseases and many take 12-15 medications daily,” Levin added.

The researchers insisted that more research is needed for informed decision-making and effective CVD prevention and treatment in the aging population of people living with HIV.

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“There is a dearth of large-scale clinical trial data on how to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases in people living with HIV,” said Feinstein.

The researchers emphasised on the importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes smoking cessation, adequate physical activity, eliminating or reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and a healthy diet. (IANS)