The Breakfast Cereal Information Service

Nutritional Information

Fat

Some fat is essential in the diet for health, particularly for growing, active children who need plenty of energy. Fat not only provides energy (9 calories per gram) and essential fatty acids, but also helps the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) [1].

For adults and children, above the age of five years, fat should generally provide no more than 35% of the daily energy intake [2][3][4]. Diets containing higher proportions of fat are likely to result in the over consumption of food energy which, if not matched by increased energy expenditure, can result in the deposition of body fat leading to obesity in the long-term.

Most breakfast cereals are low in fat, on average containing between 2-4% fat[5]. When compared to other breakfast choices such as fried breakfasts, pastries and muffins, breakfast cereals offer lower fat and lower calorie choices with a range of additional nutrients such as fibre, and vitamins and minerals in those that are fortified.

The type of fat we eat is also important. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (e.g. mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids) in the diet has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol[6]. Whilst most grains typically have lower fat levels, the type of fat is also mainly unsaturated.  Nuts are also a good source of unsaturated fats [5]

Together with the advice to enjoy cereal with fat reduced milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed), choosing cereal for breakfast can help to manage overall intakes of total and saturated fat.


[1] NHS Choices Fat: The Facts. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx

[2] Department of Health (1994). Nutritional aspects of cardiovascular disease. Report of the cardiovascular review group, Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. HMSO, London.

[3] EFSA (2010). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. Available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1461.htm

[4] FAO (2010) Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. Available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1953e/i1953e00.pdf

[5] Finglas P.M. et al. (2015) McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, 7th summary edition. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge

[6] EFSA (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to the replacement of mixtures of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) as present in foods or diets with mixtures of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and/or mixtures of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and maintenance of normal blood LDL cholesterol concentrations (ID 621, 1190, 1203, 2906, 2910, 3065) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal, 9(4):2069 [18 pp.].

 

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