What is the desirable ratio of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet?

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By reducing intakes of animal fats and gradually reducing intakes of trans fatty acids, a one-third reduction in cholesterol-raising fatty acids seems practical, from 12% to 7-8% of total energy intake. The intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should not exceed current intakes, ≃7% of total energy. Although further research is needed to determine a recommended ratio of oleic acid to carbohydrates, on the basis of the relatively low rates of coronary artery disease and cancer in both the Mediterranean region (where oleic acid intake is high at the expense of carbohydrates) and in populations consuming low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets, a reasonable compromise is a diet in which total fat is ≃30% of energy, allowing for an intake of oleic acid of 15-16% of total energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997



  • Animal fats
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids
  • Oleic acid
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Saturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

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