earlier one of the main purposes of the Nutrition Facts box is to help consumers compare food products and determine their relative significance and contributions to an overall healthful diet, and providing a % DV has been shown to enhance this consumer ability. Further, Health Canada has included this approach in its recent regulations on nutrition labeling (Canada, 2003).

Providing a % DV for combined SFA and TFA on nutrition labeling serves several other purposes. For example, this approach does not promote one type of fat as being more unhealthful than the other. Also, such an approach provides a target and flexible goal for food manufacturers to utilize when combining SFA and TFA in product formulations in order to achieve functional objectives in the sensory appeal and structure of food. Considering SFA and TFA together thus creates an incentive for the food industry to lower both components as much as possible.

With regard to cholesterol the committee noted that a cholesterol-free diet is possible if all animal-based foods are eliminated from the diet; however this is not a realistic dietary pattern for North Americans. An average daily cholesterol intake of 200 mg is attainable if a diet contains two 2-oz servings of lean meats (about 120 mg of cholesterol), 2 to 3 servings of skim milk or fat-free dairy products (about 8–12 mg of cholesterol), and 2 eggs per week (60 mg of cholesterol/day) as the only major cholesterol sources. Including nonfat-free dairy products (i.e., low-fat, reduced-fat, or whole-fat products), a larger serving of lean meat (e.g., 3 oz), or a third egg per week would contribute additional cholesterol.

The committee recognizes that the dearth of experimental data on acceptable diets that contain minimal levels of these food components makes it difficult to establish DVs for them without further research. The committee recommends that in developing DVs, examples of minimal intake levels of SFA, TFA, and cholesterol estimated through menu modeling should be evaluated against achievable health-promoting diets (identified in dietary survey data) that may be more realistic for a diverse population. While menu modeling provides a basis for evaluating the potential lowest amounts of these fats in a healthy diet, the resulting menus might be well outside the norm for most North Americans. Using dietary survey data will allow these hypothetical menus to be placed in perspective and will allow adjustments to be made that should result in recommendations for meaningful approaches to the intake of SFA, TFA, and cholesterol for the general population.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement