oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Fats and oils - towards more specific quantitative and qualitative guidelines for South Africans?

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



This paper briefly reviews the role of dietary fats (lipids) in human nutrition, summarises the contribution to the symposium on fats and oils during the 2000 South African Nutrition Congress, and examines the present recommendations and controversies regarding fat intake, in order to examine whether in a developing country such as South Africa, dietary fat recommendations to consumers should be more explicit, specific and detailed. It is concluded that to reach 'optimal' intakes, some groups in South Africa (e.g. rural blacks) should increase intakes, while those at risk for cardiovascular disease should lower intakes. It is suggested that all South Africans over the age of 2 years should aim for an intake in which fat provides approximately 30% of total energy. To meet the guidelines that more omega-3 (& #969; -3), proportionally more monounsaturated fatty acids and less trans and saturated fatty acids should be eaten, alternative sources of and for these fatty acids in the South African diet should be promoted. Both consumers and the food industry should be targeted with information and advice to make healthier but affordable choices possible. Only then will dietary advice on the quality of fat (less saturated and trans fatty acids and more monounsaturated and (& #969; 3 fatty acids) be practical and meaningful.

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