Chronic multifactorial diet related diseases are the major causes of death and illness worldwide. The amount and composition of fat in the diet is an important determinant of the pathobiology of many of these conditions. In the current review the associations between dietary fat and disease risk will be considered. Mean population fat intakes will be compared with dietary recommendations aimed at reducing the population burden of disease and the main sources of fat in the adult and childhood diet will be given. An assessment will be made of the principal vegetable oil sources used in the manufacture of processed foods, in particular fried foods, with particular reference to the rheological and nutritional justification for their use. The impact of the more widespread use of alternative oil sources with improved fatty acid profiles, on the fat composition of fried foods and the overall diet will be presented, demonstrating that such apparently focussed approaches could potentially result in a significant impact on population fat intake and potentially overall chronic disease burden.