First steps to reduce saturated fats

The Agency has announced the first steps of its activity to help people in the UK reduce the amount of saturated fat they eat, eating a diet high in saturated fat and calories can contribute to
developing a range of serious diet-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

In the UK, intakes of saturated fat are around 20% higher than official Government recommendations.

It is estimated that by reducing population intakes of saturated fat from 13.3% to below 11% of food energy, to meet Government recommendations, could help to prevent up to 3,500 deaths a year.

This new programme of activity outlines the steps that can be taken to tackle the amount of saturated fat and added sugar to foods, while also taking account of the more complex issues around
reformulation of products. A key part in helping to reduce saturated fat intakes will be in developing and building on positive and collaborative partnerships with industry, along with
improving consumer awareness.

This programme outlines future work in the following areas:

● building on partnerships with the food industry to:
   » encourage further voluntary reformulation of specific food groups to reduce the amount of saturated fat and added sugar they contain
   » increase the ranges of healthier options and step up the promotion of healthier products to consumers
   » make smaller portion sizes more readily available
● publish food industry commitments to reformulate
● increasing consumer awareness activity to raise the profile of saturated fat as part of our overall efforts to encourage people to choose a healthy diet
● holding an independent academic workshop to examine evidence on portion sizes, chaired by Dr Susan Jebb – Head of Nutrition and Health Research at the Medical Research Council

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition at the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘Reducing our intakes of saturated fat is a major challenge but would have clear important health benefits.

‘We aim to work with industry on reducing saturated fat and added sugar levels in foods, reducing portion sizes and providing clear information to consumers, including honest nutrition
information on labels.’

The Agency’s activity on reducing saturated fat will complement its ongoing work to reduce salt and trans fatty acids in UK diets, as well as its work with caterers to help people make
healthier choices when eating out. More work on these activities can be found at the links below.

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