How Much Fat!

October 11, 2009

How much fat do we need on a daily basis?  There is no firm standard for fat intake.  The American Heart Association (AHA; recommends that we focus on replacing high fat foods with fruits, unrefined whole grains, vegetables, fat free and low fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and lean meat.  Also, the AHA suggests that we focus on weight control and the addition of two weekly servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (the typical American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids).  As for the amount of our diet that comes from fats, the AHA recommendation is that our fat intake remain less than or equal to 30% of our diet.

The American Cancer Society ( recommends that our diets consist of no more than 20% of total calories from fats.  The intent behind their recommendation is the reduction of risk of cancers of the colon and rectum, prostate, endometrium, and perhaps breast.

The National Academy of Sciences, the Senate Select Committee on Health and Nutrition, and the National Research Council recommend that no more than 30% of our calories come from fats, and that the fats consist of 10% saturated, 10% monounsaturated, and 10% essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3).

Recall that a few posts ago, we calculated the number of calories we should consume daily.  From that daily amount of calories we can take 20 or 30% to compute the number of fat calories we should aim to stay at or below, assuming we want to follow the recommendations of the previously mentioned agencies.

As was stated above, the American diet is typically deficient in omega-3 fatty acids.  Some have linked this deficiency to many of the degenerative diseases that plague our society.  We might talk more about this in a later post.


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16 Responses to “How Much Fat!”

  1. John Ho says:

    For the first time, we try out organic butter. Not easy to come by in Melbourne, Australia.

    John Ho

  2. Hi Darryl,

    I love the little salmon heart illustration you used for your fitness and health blog about fat consumption and the reminder to eat Omega 3 fats, too!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  3. It would seemtome that the quality fo the fats we eat is important as well, much more so than the total amount. Great information.

    Steve Chambers, Sale Trainer Speaker

  4. Scott Payne says:

    Great Information!!… Love the blog , can’t wait to learn more. Thanks

  5. I’ll look for food with omega-3

    Jose Escalante

  6. What does this mean for bacon and eggs in the morning?

    Martin O’Connor

  7. Lisa says:

    I have no problem with getting more Omega-3 – I love fish and sushi. That picture looks amazing btw.

    With what Pam said, is mercury that really a big of a problem in fish? I thought this was only Tuna and you had to eat huge amounts. More information this would be great.


  8. Rob Northrup says:

    I’ve heard that Fish Oil (like salmon) is the best kind of fat. Is this true?

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  9. I am not suprised that everyone can not agree on what the percent of daily fat should be. In a short time they will come out with a new study and change their ideas anyway.

    Thank for putting the info together in one spot for us to view.

    Robert Martin

  10. Scott Payne says:

    I have taken Omega 3’s for about 10 years… I really think they help.
    Scott Payne

  11. Pam Schulz says:

    I, too, am curious about the benefits of fish (Omega-3 fatty acids) versus mercury.

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  12. But fat tastes so good! Lol I actually didn’t realize that the amount was that high. This is very interesting. I do need to increase my whole family’s Omega-3 fatty acids. Aren’t those the ones that come from fish? I have severely decreased the amount of fish we eat because of the mercury levels. Any advice or comments on this?

    Lisa McLellan
    Babysitting Services – Babysitters and Nannies

    • Katie says:

      My understanding – which is constantly evolving – is that eating fish more than 4 times a week will lead to excessive mercury build up. It varies of course based on the size of the fish you eat. The smaller the fish, the less mercury it can accumulate. Also, it depends on the fish’s diet. If the fish eats other fish, it will accumulate more mercury – TUNA. If the fish only eats vegetation, then it will have less.


  13. Keri Eagan says:

    20% isn’t too bad. I’d like to know of any foods I should be aware of that hide fat, like the macadamias!

    Keri Eagan
    Anything Alternative

  14. Vicki says:

    My husband went on a fishing trip and brought back fillets of different fish good for the diet. I made it several different ways from baked to crockpot (which was a shot in the dark for fish – turned out great). Of course he wanted it deep fried and it adds to the why am I eating a healthy food but preparing it in a less than healthy way.

  15. Martin says:

    I was surprised to find out recently about the high saturated fat content of my favourite nuts – brazils, cashews and macadamias. Hasn’t stopped me eating them though, comforted by the other beneficial nutrients they contain…I think!?



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