What is the recommended fat grams intake per day?

Contrary to what you might think, fat is an essential component of a healthy diet just like carbohydrates and protein. The problem arises when you consume too much fat. Sadly, most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat: about 20% more than the recommended maximum, according to the British Dietetic Association. To help your body absorb certain vitamins and maintain healthy skin and hair, you need to eat the right types of fat in appropriate amounts. So what is the recommended fat grams intake per day?

Recommended fat intake per day

Dietary fat guidelines recommend that a healthy adult should generally limit dietary fat intake to no more than 20 to 35 percent of total daily calories, depending on their gender. More specifically:

  • The average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day.
  • The average woman should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.

To figure out exactly how many recommended fat grams per day or calories this dietary fat guideline means, Mayo clinic expert and certified dietician Katherine Zeratsky says you start with the number of calories you normally eat or want to eat a day. Multiply that number by the recommended percentages to get the range of fat calories you can eat each day.

She offers this as an example based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet:

  1. Multiply 2,000 by 0.20 (20 percent)to get 400 calories
  2. Multiply 2,000 by 0.35 (35 percent) to get 700 calories

How many fat grams is that?

There are 9 calories in a gram of fat, so you divide the number of calories by 9 as shown below:

  1. Divide 400 calories by 9 (calories a gram) to get about 44 grams of fat
  2. Divide 700 calories by 9 (calories a gram) to get about 78 grams of fat

That means if you're on a 2,000-calorie-a-daydiet, 400 to 700 calories can come from dietary fat, which translates to between 44 and 78 fat grams a day.

Maintaining the recommended fat intake

To reduce your saturated fat and cholesterol intake and maintain the recommended fat grams per day:

  • Limit eating solid fats like hard margarines, lard, butter and partially hydrogenated shortening. Instead use vegetable oils as a healthier substitute
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products daily
  • Opt for lean meats, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, cooked peas and beans, fish and poultry.

Don’t forget to check the nutrition facts label on processed foods and choose foods lower in cholesterol and saturated fats.

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