- The WHO has new guidelines on how much fat, carbs and fiber you should be eating.
- There’s now more info on the type of fats and carbohydrates that should be added to a healthy diet.
- Experts say making heart healthy fat choices comes down to total grams consumed and the sources of dietary fat.
Figuring out a healthy diet can be a difficult task. But the World Health Organization (WHO) has now released new dietary guidlines that can help shed light on how much fiber, fat and carbohydrates we should be including in our meals.
The new guidelines also recommend that carbohydrate intake come primarily from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and seeds for everyone 2 years of age and older.
Grace Derocha, RD, CDCES, MBA, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Healthline the previous 2020-2025
“With the updated WHO guidelines, it is a good reminder that quality of food is important too,” Derocha tells Healthline. “Making heart-healthy fat choices and high-fiber, nutrient-dense carbohydrate choices is a key element,” she adds.
Registered dietitian and diabetes educator, Julie Cunningham, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES, IBCLC, says the previous general rule taught to most nutrition professionals for recommending fiber intake for children was ‘age plus five,’ so, for example, a four-year-old would need their age (4) plus 5 grams of fiber per day, for a total of 9 grams of fiber per day.
“The new WHO guidelines suggest significantly higher fiber intakes, starting at 15 grams of fiber per day for children aged two years and older,” she says.
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, a nutritionist and the author of “Skinny Liver,” tells Healthline the 400 mg of fruit and vegetables is about 5 servings total or 80 grams each.
But what does this mean when you’re planning a meal?
“For 25g fiber per day, in addition to fruit and vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables), consuming a serving of beans or lentils and 1-2 servings of whole, intact grains could reach the 25-gram mark,” says Kirkpatrick.
Derocha pointed out there are many ways to meet these daily recommendations for fruit and vegetables.
- 1 cup of leafy greens or ½ cup of veggies is about 75 grams of vegetables.
- 1 cup of fruit (or one medium size fruit) has 140 grams, but it varies slightly depending on the fruit
- 1 cup of fruit has about 3-4 grams of fiber, but this varies with the type of fruit
- 1 cup of veggies has about 8 grams of fiber, but this also depends on the type of vegetable
Experts say making heart-healthy fat choices comes down to total grams consumed and the sources of dietary fat. WHO recommends prioritizing unsaturated fats from some plant oils, fish, and nuts and limiting saturated and trans fats.
The WHO currently advises both adults and children to get no more than 10% of daily calories from saturated fats.
“The new guidelines surrounding fat…and carbohydrates…are aimed at reducing the risk of overweight and obesity and chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” says Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick said there may be more evidence that people can benefit from a greater amount of fat than recommended here by WHO such as in the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds. It can be beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions, she tells Healthline.
“It’s important to note that fats slow gastric emptying and may help contribute to greater amounts of satiety (fullness) which may assist with overall weight loss,” says Kirkpatrick.
Unsaturated fat sources :
- Olive Oil
- Fatty Fish
- Edible seeds
What consuming 30% of total calories from fat
- 1,500 calories: about 50 grams of fat per day
- 2,000 calories: about 67 grams of fat per day
- 2,500 calories: about 83 grams of fat per day
Standard USDA serving sizes and how to meet daily recommendations:
Nuts, 10 assorted variety, 8 grams Avocado, 1 fruit, 14 grams fat Olive oil, 1 tablespoon serving, 14 grams fat Salmon, 3 oz serving, 11 grams fat Tofu, half cup, 6 grams
On trans fats
“The new WHO guidelines encourage a specific cut-off at less than 1% of energy intake [from trans fats] whereas the previous guidelines recommended keeping consumption as low as possible,” says Cunningham.
Cunningham adds that there is a very small amount of naturally-occurring trans fat. “For many years, commercially created partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) were the most common source of trans fat in the US food supply and they were removed from the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, and since 2020, food manufacturers have no longer been permitted to sell products that contained PHOs.”
“Regarding low-fat diets, when the fat content goes down, often carbohydrates go up,” explains Kirkpatrick. “If carbohydrate consumption is high, and the quality of those carbohydrates is low (sugar, refined flour, etc.), the risk of certain chronic conditions may increase.”
The WHO currently advises that between 40 to 70% of total calories come from carbohydrates.
“In this example, 40-70% of total calories may be too high of carbohydrate intake for some populations looking to manage blood sugar and weight,” she says.
But you can’t just eat all bread and pasta for a healthy diet, the WHO recommends most carbohydrates come from “whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.”
“A suggestion to consume more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality, fiber-rich carbohydrates may be beneficial; however, it truly depends on the person and his or her individual needs,” says Kirkpatrick.
“Since there is no one size fits all approach, these guidelines may serve as a great starting point for many individuals; however, individualization and personalization may help in increased long-term sustainability and reduction of chronic conditions,” she says.
“The takeaway for general nutrition guidelines for healthy people is almost always the same: we can extend our longevity when we eat as many fruits and vegetables as we possibly can, while we cut back on red meat, high-fat dairy, and processed foods,” says Cunningham.
The World Health Organization has released new dietary guidelines with information on how much fat, fiber, and carbohydrates people should consume in their daily diet.