Dietary fat guidelines: A need for change

Publication date

1 January 2015,
corrected 1 February 2015


Zoë Harcombe
Julien S Baker
Stephen Mark Cooper
Bruce Davies
Nicholas Sculthorpe
James J DiNicolantonio
Fergal Grace

The Publication

In 2015, an analysis published in Open Heart reviewed the guideline advice for recommended fat intake set out in the 1980s; apparently the original advice lacked sufficient evidence to make its claims. The 1980 guidelines were based on the effect that saturated fats were thought to have on the risk of coronary heart disease.

This updated analysis looked at the randomised controlled trials published before the guidelines were introduced, and concluded that the evidence provided was not strong enough to support the recommendations made.

The current dietary recommendation is that no more than 30% of overall energy intake should come from total fat consumption and no more than 10% of energy intake should come from saturated fats. The researchers concluded that these guidelines should be revised.

Our Response

We believe that it’s important to focus on the types of fat consumed within the diet. The brain requires fat to develop properly and much evidence has suggested that having the correct balance of polyunsaturated fats can lead to improved brain function.