To address the rising global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and unhealthy weight gain, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued three groundbreaking guidelines on dietary fat and carbohydrate intake for adults and children. The guidelines emphasize the importance of excellent nutrition in minimizing the risk of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
The first set of recommendations focuses on saturated and trans fatty acid intake, which has been linked to a number of NCDs. WHO reiterates that limiting total fat consumption is crucial for optimum health, with 30% or less of the total calorie intake suggested for people.
To achieve this equilibrium, WHO suggests substituting polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids derived from plants for saturated and trans fats. Carbohydrates derived from naturally occurring dietary fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and pulses are also suggested as excellent substitutes for these dangerous lipids.
Fatty meats, dairy products, and solid fats like butter, ghee, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil are high in saturated fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids are commonly found in baked and fried foods, as well as pre-packaged snacks and meat and dairy products from ruminant animals like cows and sheep.
To avoid harmful weight gain, the second suggestion focuses on total fat consumption in adults and children. WHO promotes a balanced diet rich in healthy fats and natural sources of dietary fiber to combat obesity and its related health implications. This new method, together with current WHO recommendations to limit free sugars and salt intake, serves as the foundation for promoting healthy diets throughout the world.
Finally, the third suggestion addresses carbohydrate consumption, emphasizing the need of eating high-quality carbohydrates for overall health. WHO advises that children aged 2 and up consume the bulk of their carbohydrate intake from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. The World Health Organization recommended that people consume at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruits every day.
For the first time, WHO has established specific advice for children and adolescents regarding vegetable and fruit consumption as well as dietary fiber requirements. Every day, children aged 2 to 5 should consume at least 250 grams of vegetables and fruits, as well as 15 grams of dietary fiber.
Those aged 6 to 9 years should consume at least 350 grams of vegetables and fruits per day, as well as 21 grams of dietary fiber, while those aged 10 and up should consume at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruits per day, as well as 25 grams of dietary fiber. The revised recommendations emphasize the importance of eating a well-balanced diet that provides essential nutrients while limiting dangerous components.