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Expert
Question:

How many fat grams should I consume each day. I lost 65 pounds by eating only 30 grams of fat per day during the big "low fat" hype 6 years ago. Gradually I started adding more fat to my diet based on reading how too little fat was not good for you. I have gained 18 pounds over the past one and 1/2 years. I am adding weight lifting to my exercise program now and lowering my fat again to lose the 18 lbs. Should I go back to 30 grams of fat per day, or what is the current recommended thinking? Thanks. — Elaine, CA

Christine Palumbo

Answer:

 

When you were limiting yourself to 30 grams of fat daily, it may not have been enough for your body. Most health organizations recommend we obtain between 20-30% of calories from fat each day. For example, eating 1600 calories, you'd want 35-53 grams to come from fat per day. Here's how to calculate it: Multiply your calorie needs by 20%. For 1600 calories, that's 320. Divide by 9 to get the number of fat grams (in this case, 35.) For a 30% ratio, do the same (30% of 1600 = 480. Divide by 9 to get 53 grams.)

Very low fat diets are difficult for many people to stick with over time. In fact, fat is a nutrient and is necessary for good health. It carries vitamins A, D, E and K in food and into the bloodstream. Certain fatty acids are essential, meaning our body canít make them. Fat in food also helps maintain a feeling of fullness after a meal.

If youíre trying to slim down, focus on total calorie intake, limit foods low in nutritional value like sugary foods, and engage in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days.

About Christine Palumbo

Christine Palumbo, MBA, RD has been a nutrition communications consultant since 1989, providing dietary counsel and analysis on various nutrition, health and weight management topics to corporate clients and news media outlets nationwide. An active member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the Illinois Dietetic Association, Chicago Dietetic Association for more than twenty years, she has served on a variety of boards and practice group committees within those organizations. In 1981 and 1982, Palumbo was honored by the Chicago Dietetic Association and the Illinois Dietetic Association, respectively, as the Recognized Young Dietician of the Year.

Palumbo has been featured as the expert speaker in numerous national health panels and has published many articles and pamphlets regarding nutrition and healthcare. She has been featured in national women's, health and business magazines, daily newspapers and local and national radio programs. Palumbo has also appeared on numerous local and national TV news programs, including a segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997 on the health benefits of drinking water.


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