Trans Fat :: Dietitians Association of Australia warns trans fat scare hides real problem

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) warns that focusing solely on reducing trans fats could actually increase the amount of dangerous saturated fats in the Australian food supply.

The Dietitians Association of Australia – DAA supports further reducing trans fats in Australian foods, but stresses this must not come with an increase in saturated fat which would have devastating consequences on the health of Australians.

Claire Hewat, Executive Director of DAA, said ‘The alarm surrounding trans fats is out of proportion to the risk in Australia, where intakes are low on a world scale. It is clear that the total amount of saturated fat is the major issue and it is important that we do not get an increase in saturated fat in a rush to get rid of trans fats. Australians obtain only 0.61 per cent of their daily kilojoules from trans fats – lower than global recommendations of 1% and well below intakes in many other countries. Our intake of saturated fat is the real problem being 12.7% of energy which is one a half times the recommended level in Australia.

‘DAA is not convinced that mandatory labelling of trans fats is without risk. Trans fats are found naturally in small amounts in nutritious foods such as meat and dairy, and labelling them may cause Australians to limit these foods unnecessarily. The most important thing is to keep choosing manufactured foods with lower levels of saturated fat, lean meats and reduced fat dairy. We must not base decisions concerning Australia’s food supply on what is happening in countries like America. These comparisons are meaningless because their foods and trans fat intakes are very different to ours. In Australia, our Accredited Practising Dietitians have been working with enlightened food manufactures for some time to help keep our intakes of trans fats low’.

DAA is a member of the Australia New Zealand Collaboration on Trans Fats which aims to reduce the amount of trans fatty acids in the Australian and New Zealand food supply.

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is the professional body representing dietitians nationally. Dietitians are experts in nutrition and a public guarantee of this expertise is provided through the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) program – a national system for recognition of professionals who have the qualifications and expertise to provide expert nutrition and dietary advice.

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