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U.S. Diets Still Contain Too Many Trans, Saturated Fats

Americans need fewer trans and saturated fats, and more omega-3 fatty acids

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Over the last three decades, Americans have cut their intake of saturated and trans fats -- but not enough, according to research published online Oct. 22 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Mary Ann Honors, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues looked at six surveys done as part of the Minnesota Heart Survey from 1980 to 2009. The surveys polled 12,526 adults, aged 25 to 74, who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The investigators found that trans fat intake dropped by about one-third in men and women over the nearly 30-year study period. However, men still ate about 1.9 percent of calories daily from trans fats and women ate about 1.7 percent. Ideally, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting trans fats to less than 1 percent of calories consumed. Saturated fat intake dropped, too, but still accounted for about 11 percent of daily calories for both men and women during 2007 to 2009. The AHA recommends limiting saturated fats to about 5 or 6 percent of total calories.

In addition, omega-3 fats intake was a fraction of what is recommended, both for men and women, the researchers found. "The recommendation is 0.25 grams or 250 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) per day," Honors told HealthDay. Between 2007 and 2009, both men and women took in just 0.08 grams of DHA and 0.04 of EPA. She recommends getting omega-3s from two or more servings a week of fish like mackerel and salmon, rather than a fish oil capsule.

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