Research on Finnish Society

Dietary fat choices in Finland. Long-term trends and short-term changes, 1978–2014

Piia Jallinoja, Nina Kahma, Satu Helakorpi, Mari Niva & Mikko Jauho
University of Helsinki, National Institute for Health and Welfare

Dietary fat has long been a target of several Finnish policy sectors with conflicting interests. Changes in fat use from animal to vegetable fats have often been characterized as “a public policy success story”, in which policy interventions have led to healthier diets. The aim of this paper is to elaborate the picture of the developments in the consumption of different fat products, and to explore whether and what kind of other developments there may have been besides the general change from animal to vegetable fats. Based on population statistics be- tween 1978 and 2014, the study shows that instead of a uniform transformation from animal to vegetable fats, there have been multiple developments simultaneously, and not all of them unambiguously agree with the "success story" discourse. The changes were related to novel fat products, health policy interventions, cultural trends, public debates on dietary fats, and fad diets.

Keywords: Fat consumption, novel products, nutrition policies, trends, population survey

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