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What is Total Fat?

Calorie Guy asks What is Total Fat?

A nutrition label will tell you how many grams (g) of total fat are in a food. It also tells you how many calories come from fat. Total fat includes both unsaturated fat and saturated fat.

Use Mostly Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fat comes from vegetable sources. Unsaturated fats include olive oil, canola, corn, peanut, safflower, and sunflower oils and liquid (squeezable) margarine. At least two-thirds of your total fat should be unsaturated fat. This is 20 percent or less of your total calories for the day, so use sparingly.

Limit Saturated Fat

Most saturated fat comes from animals. Foods such as butter, lard, cheese, cream, whole milk and fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb are high in saturated fat. Fats that are "partially hydrogenated," or hard at room temperature, and some oils, such as palm and coconut oil, are also saturated fats. Eating saturated fat raises your cholesterol. No more than 7-percent to 10-percent of your total calories, or one-third of your total calories, or one-third of the total fat you eat, should be saturated fat.

Are You Eating Too Much Fat?

How do you know if you are eating too much fat? First, set your total calories for the day. Next, set your daily limits for total fat and saturated fat. Your health care provider can do these steps with you. Then read food labels to help you add up the grams of total fat and saturated fat you eat. If you go over your limits, you are eating too much fat.

Examples:

  • Total calories a day: 2000
  • Total fat: 67 grams or less (600 calories or less)
  • Total saturated fat: 15 to 22 grams (135 to 200 calories)
  • Total calories a day: 2500
  • Total fat: 83 grams or less (750 calories or less)
  • Total saturated fat: 19 to 28 grams (170 to 250 calories)

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