Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults

Volume 114, Issue 1 (January 2014)


It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy) that dietary fat for the healthy adult population should provide 20% to 35% of energy, with an increased consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and limited intake of saturated and trans fats. The Academy recommends a food-based approach through a diet that includes regular consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. These recommendations are made within the context of rapidly evolving science delineating the influence of dietary fat and specific fatty acids on human health. In addition to fat as a valuable and calorically dense macronutrient with a central role in supplying essential nutrition and supporting healthy body weight, evidence on individual fatty acids and fatty acid groups is emerging as a key factor in nutrition and health. Small variations in the structure of fatty acids within broader categories of fatty acids, such as polyunsaturated and saturated, appear to elicit different physiological functions. The Academy recognizes that scientific knowledge about the effects of dietary fats on human health is young and takes a prudent approach in recommending an increase in fatty acids that benefit health and a reduction in fatty acids shown to increase risk of disease. Registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely positioned to translate fat and fatty acid research into practical and effective dietary recommendations.


In the "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults," which appeared in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (pp 136-153), there was an error in Table 1 on page 139. Percentages of individual fatty acids and fatty acid groups in coconut oil is in error. The percentages should read as follows:

  • SFA, 86.8%; 8:0, 7.4%; 10:0, 5.9%; 12:0, 44.9%; 14:0, 16.9%; 16:0, 7.9%; 18:0, 2.9%
  • MUFA, 5.9%; 18:1, 5.9%
  • PUFA, 1.5%; 18:2, 1.5%