Quality of fats
A diet containing unsaturated fats enough will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Hard fats (saturated fats and trans fats) should be avoided because they are harmful to heart, brain and blood vessels as well as glucose metabolism. Replacing food products containing saturated fats with products containing unsaturated fats is key to improving the quality of fats in the diet.
Eating food that meets the fat quality criteria laid out in the nutrition recommendations will be made easy for consumers.
Operators are encouraged to offer products that help consumers to meet the fat quality criteria laid out in the nutrition recommendations and to observe nutritional quality criteria for fat quality in their purchases.
The content of hard fats (saturated fats and trans fats) will be reduced and the content of the soft fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) increased so that the population-level recommendations can be met in the long term.
Reducing saturated fats should not lead to higher contents of trans fats, added sugar, salt or energy (EU, Annex I).
In the diet
- the content of saturated fatty acids is less than 10E%
- the content of monounsaturated fatty acids is between 10 and 20E%
- the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids is between 5 and 20E%
- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats account for at least 2/3 of the fat
- intake of trans fatty acids is minimised.
In order to achieve the target, people in Finland must reduce their intake of saturated fats by 20 per cent by the year 2020, compared with the level in the Findiet 2012 survey. The target is in line with the targets laid out by the WHO. Reference: THL, Tutkimuksesta tiiviisti (Research in brief, in Finnish), 2015.
The long-term objective is to ensure that the fat quality in the products that are central to the intake of saturated fats is in accordance with the Better Choice Heart Symbol criteria.
The following food groups that are central to the intake of saturated and unsaturated fats should have priority when measures to reduce the content of hard fats are taken:
- Dairy products
- Convenience foods
- Meat and sausages, meat products and cold cuts
- Bakery products
You can also make commitments for other products that are important in terms of improving fat quality in the diet.
We are introducing the following measures to improve fat quality in meals and food products
- The proportion of the products meeting the fat quality criteria of the Better Choice Heart Symbol will be increased, especially in the product groups that are used frequently, in large quantities and on a regular basis (daily). See also: https://www.sydanmerkki.fi/en/criteria
- Catering services must observe the meal-specific fat quality criteria laid out in the Finnish nutrition recommendations (in Finnish).
- In school meals, the nutritional quality criteria laid out in the recommendation Eating and learning together – recommendations for school meals, are observed.
- The criteria specified in the recommendation ‘Korkeakouluopiskelijoiden ruokailusuositus – Terveyttä ruoasta’ (Dietary recommendation for students in higher education institutions - health from food) apply to student meals in higher education institutions.
Examples of commitments
Example 1: We will increase the content of unsaturated fats in our products so that 40 per cent of our products will meet the fat quality criteria of the Heart Symbol by the year 2020.
Example 2: We will reduce the content of saturated fats in our products by at least 20 per cent by the year 2020.
Example 3: We pledge to reduce the fat content of our fat-containing yogurts by 30 per cent in 2018.
Example 4: A total of 50 per cent of our portion meals will meet the Better Choice Heart Symbol fat criteria by the year 2020.
Example 5: Our five top-selling convenience foods will meet the Heart Symbol fat criteria by the year 2020.
Example 6: We will reduce the content of saturated fats and increase the content of unsaturated fats in our convenience foods so that 40 per cent of our products will meet the Heart Symbol fat criteria by the year 2020.
Example 7: From the start of 2018, we will offer our professional kitchen customers at least five different cheeses or cold cuts that meet the Better Choice Heart Symbol fat criteria.