What Percentage Of Fat Should I Eat


What Percentage Of Fat Should I Eat? Fat intake is an important factor in the development of obesity and can result in other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The percentage you should take in depends on whether you’re male or female, your age, what type of fat it is, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, among other things.  Here are some guidelines from the food and nutrition board.

Fat Facts, The Right Amount For A Healthy Diet

To make educated choices about the foods they are in and how to gradually switch to heart-healthy fats, be aware of the facts concerning saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com

In the diet, fat is essential. It is one of the three essential nutrients the body needs, along with protein and carbs. Fat gives off energy and aids in the body’s assimilation of specific vitamins from diet. To keep within the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, no more than 20% to 35% of daily calories should come from fat (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] & U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2020). Alcohol, fat, carbohydrates, and proteins are the four possible food groups from which calories can be derived. Fat has nine calories per gram, nine more than the other three food groups combined. Research in science has shown that different types of fats must be taken into account.

Low-fat and fat-free diets were once common as scientists discovered more about fats, but this runs counter to what is now understood about the function of fat in the body. It is now known that the type of fat consumed from different dietary sources affects health more than the difference between “good,” useful fats and “bad,” harmful fats (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health [Harvard], 2019). One should concentrate on choosing more of the healthy unsaturated fats and limiting the detrimental saturated fat, rather than reducing overall fat intake to a low-fat diet.

Saturated Fat

Being associated with heart disease and other health issues, saturated fat is a bad dietary fat. Increased LDL cholesterol from consuming too much saturated fat in the diet can result in a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke (American Heart Association, n.d.). At room temperature, it is often solid and is more prevalent in animal products, tropical oils, and fully hydrogenated oils.

Vegetable oils are converted to solid fats by chemical modification to produce fully hydrogenated oils (FHOs). The procedure, known as hydrogenation, converts the oil from an unsaturated fat to a saturated fat by adding hydrogen. Although food products containing FHOs are more shelf-stable, too much of this type of fat is bad for the consumer’s health (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition [CFSAN], 2018a).

Whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk, such as cream, butter, and cheese; tropical plant-based oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil; and highly processed foods like potato chips, snack foods, bakery items, crackers, pie crusts, fried foods, and greasy foods like pizza.

Daily Consumption: According to the Dietary Guidelines (USDA & HHS, 2020), saturated fat intake should be kept to less than 10% of the daily recommended caloric intake. The American Heart Association (n.d.) suggests keeping saturated fat intake between 5% and 6% of total daily calories in order to further lower the risk of developing heart disease.

Based on a 2,000-calorie diet:

  • 44 to 78 grams of total fat
  • 11 grams (5%) to 22 grams (10%) of saturated fat

Dietary Changes:

  • To lower LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, swap saturated fat for unsaturated fat, particularly polyunsaturated fat (USDA & HHS, 2020). Heart disease risk is decreased by these beneficial fats because they reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise the proportion of “good” HDL cholesterol in total cholesterol. Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, but keep your daily total fat intake between the 20% to 35% of calories range.
  • Include a variety of nuts, seeds, beans, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products in your diet. Naturally low in saturated fat, these foods.
  • Several days per week, swap out red meat for skinless poultry or fish. Choose meat, poultry, and fish that has been grilled, baked, roasted, or broiled in place of those that have been fried. Pick a few vegetarian meals each week.
  • Replace the fat in baking with applesauce, prune puree, or pureed legumes. Replace all or a portion of the fat, but keep in mind that the baked good’s texture will change. Think about experimenting with various substitution ratios.
  • To find out how much and what kind of fats are in food goods, read the nutrition labels.
  • Look for additional components in items with less fat as well. When decreasing the fat content of items, food makers frequently add sugar and sodium.

Other things to know about hydrogenated oils

The objective is to consume as little trans fat as possible because trans fats, which are included in manufactured, partly hydrogenated oils (PHOs), are known to raise the risk of heart disease by raising LDL cholesterol and lowering HDL cholesterol levels (CFSAN, 2018a). As a result, PHOs are no longer allowed to be added to food by manufacturers, preventing thousands of heart attacks and fatalities each year (CFSAN, 2018b). Even though the amount of naturally occurring trans fats in the diet is very small, PHOs have long been the main source of trans fats in the diet.

Since FHOs are saturated fats and don’t include trans fats like PHOs do, their use is acceptable, but too much of them can be bad for your heart.

Although switching from PHOs to FHOs is safer for our food supply, the best choice is still to restrict saturated fats and opt instead for unsaturated fats.

The Heart-Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the two varieties of lipids that are good for the heart. These two unsaturated fats can enhance cholesterol, lessen inflammation, maintain regular heartbeats, and participate in a variety of other bodily processes. At room temperature, unsaturated fats are liquid and are largely present in plant-based foods including nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and oils (Harvard, 2018). Unsaturated fats are also found in fish. The majority of foods are composed of a variety of fats.

Serving sizes of heart-healthy fats must be taken into account in order to keep within the daily recommended consumption and not exceed daily calorie demands since unsaturated fats still include nine calories per gram.

Monounsaturated Fat

By lowering LDL cholesterol levels, monounsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is advised that more mono- and polyunsaturated fats be consumed in place of saturated fats while still maintaining within the recommended dietary range (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020a).

Food Sources:
Avocados, nuts, seeds, and non-tropical plant-based oils like olive, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame oils are sources of monounsaturated fat. Normally liquid at room temperature, these oils will begin to harden when exposed to colder, refrigerated temperatures.

Dietary Changes:

  • Consume nuts as a snack. Because nuts are heavy in calories, be mindful of your portion sizes. One ounce is the suggested serving size for nuts. For instance, there are around 23 almonds in an ounce of almonds.
  • Butter and other solid fats should be substituted with canola or olive oil. For oils with a lot of monounsaturated fat, see Figure 1.
  • Use the conversion below to replace shortening or butter in recipes with a heart-healthier oil:
Butter/ Margarine/ ShorteningOil
1 teaspoon¾ teaspoon
1 Tablespoon2¼ teaspoon
¼  cup3 Tablespoons
⅓ cup¼ cup
½ cup¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons
⅔ cup½ cup
¾ cup½ cup + 1 Tablespoon
1 cup¾ cup

Polyunsaturated Fat

The risk of heart disease and stroke can be decreased by lowering LDL cholesterol levels, which can be achieved with the use of polyunsaturated fats. They offer vital nutrients that enable the body to function appropriately and efficiently. Additionally, polyunsaturated fat-rich oils provide vitamin E, an antioxidant that improves blood flow, heals bodily tissues, and works as an antioxidant.

Essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in polyunsaturated fats, are crucial for cell development and brain function. Essential fatty acids can only be obtained from diet or supplements because the body cannot produce them. By lowering triglycerides, controlling heart rhythm, preventing the buildup of arterial plaque, and modestly lowering blood pressure, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the heart. Omega-6 fatty acids help lower blood pressure, lessen the chance of developing diabetes, and regulate blood sugar (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020b).

Food Sources:
Nuts, seeds, tofu, and soybeans; vegetable oils like safflower, corn, soybean, and sunflower oils; seafood like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout. Although heavier in monounsaturated fat than polyunsaturated fat, canola oil is a healthy source of both types of fat.

Dietary changes:

  • Eat fish at least twice a week in place of red meat.
  • Incorporate nuts and seeds in meals and snacks.
  • Use oils high in polyunsaturated fats instead of butter or margarine. Refer to Figure 1 for a breakdown of oils high in polyunsaturated fats.

Figure 1. Image source: 2015-2020 Dietary

What Is the Minimum Percentage of Fat That Should Be Consumed by Adults?

The type of fat determines how much of it you should eat.

You must consume fat, but not all fats are created equal in terms of their nutritional worth. While manufactured trans fat has no nutritional value, saturated and unsaturated fats have differing effects on your blood vessels and cholesterol levels. Your body produces cholesterol, which is frequently paired with fats, and you can also get it through diet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, fats should make up at least 15% of the majority of adult meals and at least 20% of the diets of women who are of reproductive age.

Unsaturated Fats

According to MedlinePlus, unsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol and minimize your chance of getting heart disease. Unsaturated fats like those found in nuts, peanuts, vegetable oils like olive oil, and fatty seafood like salmon should make up the majority of the fat in your diet. The World Health Organization recommends that you consume 6 to 11 percent of your daily calories from polyunsaturated fat and 0.5 to 2 percent from omega-3 fatty acids, which are mostly found in fatty fish. The remaining fats should be monounsaturated.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fat is a component of animal proteins such milk, butter, eggs, and meat. Because fat makes meat more soft and flavorful, more expensive pieces of meat frequently have significantly higher levels of saturated fat than less expensive portions. Saturated fat is also present in some plant oils, including coconut and palm. Your levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol, can increase as a result of consuming saturated fats.

The American Heart Association advises limiting saturated fat to no more than 7 percent of your daily calorie intake. The Harvard School of Public Health advises consuming as little saturated fat as possible, but points out that it’s impossible to completely cut out saturated fat from your diet because foods that are high in unsaturated fat also contain a small amount of saturated fat.

Trans Fats

Hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to produce synthetic trans fats, which are consumed in your diet. The better off you are, the less trans fat you consume. According to the Mayo Clinic website, trans fats are the sort of fat that raises cholesterol levels the most. The American Heart Association advises limiting your daily intake of trans fat to no more than 1% of your total calories.


Heart disease can be exacerbated by high cholesterol, a waxy molecule present in lipids. Plaque, a material that harms the vessel walls and can result in blockages, is formed by cholesterol in the arteries. You don’t need any cholesterol from your diet; your liver produces everything that you require.

Genetics, weight, and activity can all have an impact on your cholesterol levels, and some people produce more cholesterol than others. If you don’t already have heart disease, the American Heart Association advises keeping your daily cholesterol consumption to 300 milligrams; if you do, keep it to 200 milligrams.

Fat grams: How to track fat in your diet

a nutrition information label with a magnifying glass highlighting the fat content, including Trans Fat 0 g

QUESTION: What’s an easy way to see how much fat I eat each day?

Checking your fat consumption against dietary recommendations is simple by tracking your fat grams.

For healthy individuals, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following goals:

  • Total fat: 20% to 35% of daily calories
  • Saturated fat: 10% or less of daily calories

Start with the quantity of calories you typically consume or desire to consume each day to determine what that implies for you. To determine the required range of daily fat calories, multiply that number by the suggested percentages.

Here is an illustration based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories:

  • Multiply 2,000 by 0.20 (20%) to get 400 calories and by 0.35 (35%) to get 700 calories.
  • Multiply 2,000 by 0.10 (10%) to get 200 calories.

How many grams of fat are those? Divide the total number of calories by 9. There are 9 calories in every gram of fat.

  • Divide 400 calories by 9 to get 44 grams. Then divide 700 calories by 9 to get 78 grams.
  • Divide 200 calories by 9 to get 22 grams.

So, if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day, 44 to 78 grams of total fat per day should be your goal. Saturated fat shouldn’t account for more than 22 grams of that total.

Simply add up the fat grams from the meals you consumed throughout the day to keep track of the amount of fat in your diet. To determine how much fat is in the foods you eat, check the Nutrition Facts label.

Always choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and avoid trans fats (saturated and trans).


How much fat should we eat each day? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that 20–35% of our daily calorie intake should come from fats. Consuming 0.5–1g/kg of fat per day is recommended for people who are trying to shed body fat in order to prevent essential fatty acid deficit.
For someone who weighs 150lbs (68kg), this would equate to 34-68g fat per day.

If you want a handy tool to measure body fat percentages,


Individual fat requirements will vary and be heavily influenced by body types and goals for body composition. For instance, to support health, maintain appropriate hormone function, and maintain energy balance, competitive athletes’ dietary fat requirements are a little greater than those for non-competitive athletes. For athletes, 30–50% of total energy consumption is usually advised.


The USDA’s exact recommendation for low-fat diets (LFD) is that total fat intake should be between 20 and 35 percent fat. Vegan and vegetarian diets fall under the category of very low-fat diets (VLFD), which are defined as supplying 10–20% of daily calories from fat. On the effectiveness of these diets to produce sustainable fat loss over extended durations, there is, however, little study.

Ketogenic diets consist of consuming between 60 and 80 percent of calories from fat and fewer than 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates per day. While keto diets have been demonstrated to aid in weight loss/fat loss, research have indicated the fundamental reason behind weight loss is due to hunger suppression.

Since a high-fat diet is very satiating, it might reduce hunger and cause a reduction in caloric intake. Furthermore, numerous studies have demonstrated that diets with the same amount of protein and caloric matching can promote fat reduction equally as effectively as the keto diet.

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