New saturated fat pledge

The food network has today announced the launch of a new pledge on saturated fat reduction. The pledge commits companies to support and enable people to consume less saturated fat through actions such as product/menu reformulation, reviewing portion sizes, education and information and incentivising consumers to choose healthier options.

Reducing saturated fat intakes from 12.7% to within the recommended maximum level of 11% of food energy would prevent approximately 2,600 premature deaths each year.

Reducing saturated fat intakes can lower blood cholesterol which in turn can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

The food industry has been working voluntarily to reduce saturated fat levels in food for a number of years. The saturated fat reduction pledge provides a mechanism for the food and drink industry to make and record on-going contributions to helping the population meet the recommended maximum intake target.

The following 13 companies are leading the way, representing quick service restaurants, supermarkets, manufacturers and contract caterers.

  • Aldi Stores
  • Aramark
  • Burton’s Biscuits
  • CH&Co
  • Compass
  • Cricketer Farm
  • Mondelez International
  • Morrisons
  • Nestle
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Subway
  • Tesco
  • Unilever

Read the DH press release.

In Food Network | Tagged

16 Responses to New saturated fat pledge

  1. Livia says:

    How about you prove first to us citizens that saturated fat is bad.There is absolutely NO STUDY proving this ‘hypothesis’. People are getting fat because of SUGAR and CARBS!

    You should really watch this:

    • Daan says:

      I can’t believe that government websites are advocating this information…. Sugar and carbs are the most likely causes like Livia is saying!

      Why is the population fooled over and over by false information?!!?

  2. Daniel Högberg says:

    This have to be a joke, right? Its starches, sugar and carbs that are making people fat and sick. NOT the saturated fats. Now people will eat more sugar, carbs and starches because they will be more hungry – ultimately making them fatter, sicker have more cravings for even more sickening starches, suger and carbs. Please do some serious research.


    They’re reducing saturated fat and replacing it with what, exactly? Trans? n-6? Sugar?

    Dear Dept. Of Health, the 1980s called: They wanted their unscientific nutrition theories back.

  4. dave smith says:

    The pledge is implemented to reduce the number premature deaths caused by Cardio vascular disease. So where does it state it is to reduce obesity rates… It doesn’t. All you people need to read it again or in fact read the full report and not the press release.

  5. David Dosoudil says:

    Many thanks Jane Ellison and Department of Health. Really.

    While the Saturated Fat is still the main enemy in the 40 years long misguided fight against CVD based on botched research, you’re completely missing a chance and instead starting a process, that will cause even more problems and cause even more lives.

    Could you please enlighten us, what is the process in which Saturated Fat causes Cardiovascular Desease, Obesity and Diabetes? Any research papers? What will the Food Industry use to replace saturated fat? Starch, sugar, trans fats? Brilliant. This must be the least useful guidance ever produced.

    Shameful. Department Against Health.

  6. Rob Davies says:

    Anyone who knows about public health knows the Public Health Responsibility Deal is amazingly flawed and will lead to only fringe changes, no change is what to expect from this deal. We’ve been through all this with tobacco companies, they all agreed to all the changes they knew would do virtually nothing to reduce their sales, ie. consumption. Voluntary deals don’t work because companies are not, and don’t claim to be, agents for the greater good, they are there to maximise profits and sugar and fat make tasty things that sell well. If you take out the sugar, even more nasties find their way in. This isn’t the industries fault so either demonstrates that the Department of Health is completely inept, or cynically prioritizing industry over population health. The deal is a waste of time.

  7. mark says:

    Sugary carbohydrates cause weight gain and diabetes NOT saturated fats. The ‘low fat is healthy’ ‘advice’ is promoted by profit driven drug companies who need to keep us off foods that are good for us (animal fats, red meat etc) and to eat those that are bad for us (vegetable oils, grains, margarines etc) in order to make money. Remember, profit is the key factor here, and the drug companies make no money from healthy people. Traditional hunter gatherers eat plenty fat and meat as did generations of people before the introduction of ‘healthy’ eating, and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer rates were all a lot lower then than they are today, yet we are eating less fat. My advice as a healthy low carber of 15 years, is to consume more animal fats, less grains and cut out completely all vegetable oils in your diet. Trust proven human biology and evolution over a drug companies accountant.

  8. Carlos says:

    Great, so we’ll have more trans polyunsaturated fats, more sugar and less real food.

  9. Vicki @ Public Health England says:

    Our advice to consume a diet which is low in saturated fat is based on recommendations to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in 1984, an expert committee who advised the Government on nutrition issues. Since then the Government has continued to monitor developments in the evidence base on saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.

    There is consistent evidence from recent trials to show that reducing saturated fat consumption lowers blood cholesterol which in turn decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Based on the totality of the evidence, Public Health England continue to advise people to consume a diet that is low in saturated fat and supports the Government’s Responsibility Deal incentives that will reduce saturated fat in foods.

    In addition to focusing on reducing saturated fats, Public Health England actively supports broader changes to the diet including reductions in salt, sugar and calorie intake and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, in line with recommendations for a healthy balanced diet as expressed in the eatwell plate.

    • Daan says:

      “There is consistent evidence from recent trials to show that reducing saturated fat consumption lowers blood cholesterol which in turn decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

      Can you please provide some scientific references to these claims? Yes, reducing saturated fat reduces cholesterol but doe that in turn decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease???

      • Vicki@Public Health England says:

        There is evidence to show that lowering blood cholesterol reduces the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. For example, Skeaff and Miller (2009) conducted a meta-analysis of 16 trials modifying the amount of saturated fat in the diet and found that, in studies which significantly lowered serum cholesterol by replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, both heart attacks and deaths from heart disease were significantly reduced. More recently a Cochrane Collaboration systematic review (Hooper et al. 2012) concluded that reducing saturated fat by reducing and/or modifying dietary fat intakes lowered the risk of cardiovascular events by 14%. In addition, the combined results of 14 RCTs investigating statins also found that a reduction in LDL-cholesterol of 1mmol/L, sustained over a period of 5 years, reduced major vascular events by 23% (Baigent et al. 2005).

        Baigent C, Keech A, Kearney PM, Blackwell L, Buck G, Pollicino C et al. Efficacy and safety of cholesterol-lowering treatment: prospective meta-analysis of data from 90,056 participants in 14 randomised trials of statins. Lancet 2005; 366(9493):1267-1278.

        Hooper L, Summerbell CD, Thompson R, Sills D, Roberts FG, Moore HJ et al. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; 5:CD002137.

        Skeaff CM & Miller J. Dietary fat and coronary heart disease: summary of evidence from prospective cohort and randomised controlled trials. Ann Nutr & Metab 2009;55:173-201.

  10. Modi Mwatsama @ UK Health Forum says:

    This is a welcome initiative as excess saturated fat intake remains one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Not just in the UK but also internationally.

    In May this year, the World Health Organisation adopted a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of non-communicable diseases. These conditions are the biggest killers globally and include diet-related heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and the associated risk factor of obesity. The WHO action plan was developed by the worlds leading scientific experts in the field and includes actions, targets and indicators to reduce consumption of saturated fat in all countries where intakes are high.

    The UK Health Forum is an evidence-based public health organisation. We therefore welcome the priority being given to saturated fats and have made some reflections on this new initiative on our website:

  11. I find the attempts to respond to the challenges made in the comments less than convincing. For example Vicki@Public Health England says that:
    “a Cochrane Collaboration systematic review (1) concluded that reducing saturated fat by reducing and/or modifying dietary fat intakes lowered the risk of cardiovascular events by 14%”
    However she fails to mention the final conclusion that:
    “This review suggests that modified fat intake, or modified and reduced fat intake combined (but not reduced fat intake alone) are protective against combined cardiovascular events. No clear effects of these interventions on total or cardiovascular mortality were seen.”
    In other words this review team could find no convincing evidence that there were benefits when considering total mortality. Even if there is a marginal reduction in dying of heart disease can the Responsibility Deal be justified if there is a corresponding increase in dying of some other condition?

    More to the point let us consider what has happened in recent years. According to the National Food Survey the intake of saturated fat has fallen from 56.7 g/day in 1969 to 29.2 g/day in 2000(2).

    In 1984 the official Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) recommended that the saturated fat intake should be reduced from 20% of food energy to 15% as part of a strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease (3). This target was reached by 2000 (4). Currently the amount of saturated fat in the British diet is 12.7% of energy.

    Over this period the incidence of obesity has continued to increase. In men it has doubled since 1993, which is when detailed information was first collected (5). Even more worrying is that since 1994 the incidence of diabetes has more than doubled for both men and women (6).

    As it is evident that reducing saturated fat in the past has not delivered the expected results in the past, is it really credible that the same strategy will work in the future?

    Nevertheless this Responsibility Deal with the food industry aims to reduce the saturated fat level even more to 11% of energy in the hope and expectation that there will be a reduction in
    “ the risk of premature avoidable mortality from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease”.

    Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    3. Department of Health and Social Security (1984) “Diet and Cardiovascular Disease” London: HMSO
    5. Health Survey of England 2010 Adult Trend Tables
    6. Health Survey for England 2009

    • Jennifer@Public Health England says:

      The Governments policy on saturated fat is based on the totality of evidence and is consistent with other advisory organisations. The focus of the recommendation to reduce saturated fat consumption is the lowering effect on cholesterol levels, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

      The 1984 Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) recommendation to limit saturated fat intake to no more than 11% of total food energy to reduce the risk of CVD was based on a review of the scientific evidence available at the time. This recommendation was endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), an advisory committee of independent scientific experts who replaced COMA in 2001.

      The World Health Organisation (WHO) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed the evidence base for intakes of fat in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Both reviews reaffirmed the link between the intake of saturated fatty acids and raised cholesterol levels and its effect on CVD risk. Recommendations for a reduction in population intakes of saturated fat were made, in line with the COMA recommendation.

      Since 1994, intakes of saturated fat have remained fairly constant, although prior to that intakes had been in decline since 1972. The most recent survey data from years one to three (2008/09-2010/11) of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) estimated that the average energy derived from saturated fat for the UK population was 12.7% which is still in excess of the recommendation.

      One of Public Health England’s (PHE) main priorities is to help people live longer and more healthy lives by reducing preventable deaths and the burden of ill health associated with smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, poor diet, poor mental health, insufficient exercise and alcohol.

      As well as reducing saturated fat intake Public Health England (PHE) supports broader changes to the diet including reductions in salt, sugar and calorie intake and increases in fruit and vegetable consumption in line with the eatwell plate to reduce obesity and other diet related diseases.

  12. Rachael M. (Bsc RD) says:

    As a registered dietitian working within the specialist area of cardiovascular health Im inclined to agree with the evidence base promoted by the DoH. Not only do the UK guidelines support this theory but the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) also do. The ESC recently reviewed their guidance based on the current evidence available and the same guidance stands with regards to satured fat and cholesterol levels.
    There is no arguement that saturated fat alone does not cause obesity. Obesity and diagnosis of diabetes is multifactoral.
    What is worth noting when considering saturated fat and unsaturated fat is that regardless of the type of fat, calories remain the same. The focus here is that saturated fat affects cholesterol in addition to our waistlines. The higher levels of cholesterol directly affect cardiovascular risk.
    There is no doubt that higher levels of sugar in foods are not healthy for us as sugar has a calorie value too. No matter the source of the calories, excess calories will cause our waistlines to increase.
    Focusing on saturated fat directly does not mean that the healthcare industry is ignoring the effects of other nutrients such as sugar on our health but its an ongoing process encouraging the food industry to match up with our aims.