The guidelines continue to urge Americans to keep their calorie intake from saturated fat to less than 10 percent and lower the amount of trans fat in their diet to as low as possible.
The guidelines recommend these fats be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats; however, the average American is more likely to replace saturated fat with increased consumption of carbohydrates.
“While the guidelines assume there will be lower total calorie consumption by reducing saturated fat, the reality is that it will likely result in increased carbohydrate intake,” notes Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, University of Connecticut. “Studies have shown that consuming an excess of sugars and starches negatively impacts weight and increases the risk for diabetes.”
Award-winning science writer Gary Taubes states, “The government and health organizations offer up advice on how to increase good cholesterol, like exercise, lose weight, consume moderate amounts of alcohol, but we will rarely, if ever, be told that we can accomplish the same thing by replacing carbohydrates in our diet with fat.”
With the current consumption of saturated fat being only 11 percent of total energy, according to the new Dietary Guidelines, many experts are finding that there is no strong link shown among saturated fat and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight gain.
Additionally, food manufacturers will be challenged in replacing trans fat in certain food formulations with unsaturated oils as these cannot replace solid fats in all instances.
“Food manufacturers are turning to saturated fat as a replacement for unhealthy trans fat,” says Gerald McNeill, PhD, director of research and development at Loders Croklaan. “Emerging research shows that certain oils, like palm oil which is a natural blend of saturated and unsaturated fats, are healthier alternatives to trans fat as they may increase HDL, the good cholesterol, and have no impact on total cholesterol.”