Dieting For Dummies
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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

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Jane Kirby, RD is a registered dietitian and member of the American Dietetic Association. She is the food and nutrition editor of Real Simple magazine and owner of The Vermont Cooking School, IncTM in Charlotte, Vermont. Jane is the former editor of Eating Well magazine and the food and nuitrition editor for Glamour. She served on the dietetics staff of the Massachusettes General Hospital in Boston, where she  completed graduate work in nutrition. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount College.

The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest group of nutrition and health professionals. As an advocate of the profession, the ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health, and well-being.

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