Fat, once eschewed by health-conscious people everywhere, is coming back into fashion. It’s important to recognize, however, that just like carbohydrate and protein, fat has always been essential for good health. Each gram of fat provides about 9 calories, so it’s easy to see how foods rich in fat can bump up your total calorieintake quickly.
Fat improves the taste of many foods; helps prolong feelings of satiety; and is critical for proper nerve conduction, production of hormones and cell walls, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Balance is important! Some fat, but not too much, is the key. Fat should provide about 20% to 35% of your total calorie intake. This range reflects differences in cultural and personal preferences, health needs, and levels of physical activity among individuals.
You can estimate your daily need for fat in grams in the same way you determined your carbohydrate needs. Start by multiplying your total daily calories by your desired percentage of calories from fat (20% to 35%). Then divide that number by 9 (because fat has 9 calories per gram) to obtain the number of grams of fat you’ll consume each day:
Total daily calories × ____% = Calories from fat
Calories from fat ÷ 9 = Daily grams of fat
2,000 calories per day × .30 (30%) = 600 calories from fat
600 calories ÷ 9 calories per gram = 67 grams of fat per day