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Fruit and vegetables: WHO recommends 400 g per day

The updated guidelines of the UN body on fats, sugars, carbohydrates and fibres

The World Health Organization has updated its guidelines on total fat, saturated fat and trans fat, and carbohydrates, based on the latest scientific evidence.

The three new guidelines (saturated fatty acid and trans fatty acid intakes for adults and children; total fat intake for the prevention of unhealthy weight gain in adults and children; carbohydrate intake for adults and children) contain recommendations that aim to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain and diet-related noncommunicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

With its guidance on dietary fat, WHO notes that both quantity and quality are important for good health. WHO reiterates that adults should limit total fat intake to 30% of total energy intake or less. The fat consumed by all individuals 2 years of age and older should be primarily unsaturated fatty acids, with no more than 10% of total energy intake coming from saturated fatty acids and no more than 1% of total energy intake from trans fatty acids from both ruminant and industrially produced animal sources.

Saturated and trans fatty acids in the diet can be replaced with other nutrients such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids from plant sources or carbohydrates from foods containing natural dietary fibers, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
Saturated fatty acids can be found in fatty meat, dairy products, hard fats, and oils such as butter, ghee, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil, and trans fatty acids in baked and fried foods, prepackaged snack foods, and the meat and dairy products of ruminant animals, such as cows or sheep.

Together with WHO's existing guidance on limiting the intake of free sugars, the new carbohydrate intake guidance emphasizes the importance of carbohydrate quality for good health. WHO provides a new recommendation that carbohydrate intake for all people two years of age and older should come primarily from whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. WHO recommends that adults consume at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables and 25 grams of natural dietary fiber per day.

In the first guide for children and adolescents, WHO suggests the following intakes of fruit and vegetables:

2-5 years: at least 250 g per day

6–9 years: at least 350 g per day

from 10 years onwards: at least 400 g per day.

The recommended intakes of natural dietary fibers are as follows:

2-5 years, at least 15 g per day

6–9 years: at least 21 g per day

10 years or more, at least 25 g per day.

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EFA News - European Food Agency