Quality, rather than quantity of fat, is the determinant of heart disease risk, according to a study conducted in Mexico. The study found that although fat intake among three-quarters of Mexicans fell within World Health Organization recommendations, their saturated fat and trans fat intake exceeded healthy diet recommendations–placing them at higher risk for heart disease.

Around 60 percent of Mexicans surveyed had a high intake of saturated fats and a low intake of polyunsaturated fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and promote cardiovascular health.

“Public policies should be enacted to reduce the intake of saturated fats by improving the quality of baking lard and promoting the consumption of defatted milk,” the study recommended. These two foods are among the main sources of saturated fats in the Mexican diet.

In addition, consumption of foods rich in n-3 and n-6 fatty acids (such as fish and nuts) are very low in the typical Mexican diet; thus, alternatives like promoting a larger consumption of canola or soy bean oils or addition of n-3 fatty acids to cooking oils from other sources must be considered, the study concluded.

Citation:
1. Ramírez-Silva I, Villalpando S, Moreno-Saracho JE, Bernal-Medina D. Fatty acids intake in the Mexican population. Results of the National Nutrition Survey 2006. Nutrition & Metabolism 2011; 8: 33. (open access)

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