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Sources of saturated fatty acids in Belgian adolescents' diet: implications for the development of food-based dietary guidelines

  • C. Matthys (a1), S. De Henauw (a1) (a2), M. Bellemans (a1), M. De Maeyer (a1) and G. De Backer (a1)...

Abstract

The objectives of the present study are to describe the dietary sources of total fat and of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and to formulate food-based dietary guidelines for SFA in Belgian adolescents. A random sample of 13–18-year-old adolescents was drawn from secondary schools in the region of Ghent. A 7d estimated food record method was used to quantify nutrient and food intake. The average daily SFA intake is 4% above the recommended 10% of the total energy contribution. The most important contributors of SFA on food group level were ‘fats, oils and savoury sauces’, ‘meat and meat products’, ‘sugar, confectionery, sweet fillings and sauces’, ‘cheese’, ‘milk and milk products’ and ‘bread, rusk and breakfast rolls’. On food subgroup level ‘fresh meat’, ‘high-fat margarine’ and ‘high-fat cheese’ had the highest contribution to SFA intake in all adolescents. Adolescents with a low SFA intake (lowest tertile) were compared with adolescents with a high intake (highest tertile). In the lowest tertile the intake of total fat and MUFA was significantly lower than in the highest tertile, while the intake of total carbohydrates, mono- and disaccharides and complex carbohydrates was significantly higher. Overall, the high-fat cheese intake is significantly lower in the lowest tertile, while the fruit intake is higher. The present analysis shows that the nutritional profile of Belgian adolescents could be potentially improved by decreasing the portion sizes of fresh meat (in boys), high-fat margarine, high-fat cheese and reducing intake of commercially prepared baked goods and processed foods, including fast foods.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: fax +32 9 240 49 94, email Christophe.Matthys@UGent.be

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