Figure the Right Amount of Fat for Your Diet

Yes, you do need some fat in your diet for good health. Fat supplies essential fatty acids and helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. But a diet high in saturated fat and, to a lesser degree, dietary cholesterol is linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Because fat has more calories than protein or carbohydrate, cutting down on fat is also the easiest way to cut calories. All kinds of fat, regardless of how saturated or unsaturated they are, have 9 calories per gram and should comprise no more than 30 percent of your total calories. Dietary cholesterol doesn’t provide calories, but it too should be limited — to less than 300 milligrams per day.

The number of calories that you consume determines the amount of fat that you can have in your diet. Keep in mind that no more than 30 percent of your daily calories should come from fat.

Calorie Level Daily Fat Gram Allowance
2,000 Less than 65 grams
1,800 Less than 60 grams
1,600 Less than 53 grams
1,400 Less than 46 grams
1,200 Less than 40 grams

To quickly determine your fat gram allowance, drop the last digit of your calorie intake and divide by 3. For example:

1,500 calorie diet = 150 ÷ 3 = less than 50 grams of fat
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