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Adopting a Low Fat Diet

Low fat diets, usually defined as less than 30% of calories from fat, were once recommended as the basis of a heart healthy diet. Scientists now know that specific types of dietary fats are more important than total fat in increasing your risk for heart disease. Today, experts believe that a healthy diet can have up to 35% of calories from fat. The key to a heart healthy diet is saturated fat - highest in meat and dairy products. Keep saturated fat levels in your diet to 7-10% of total calories.

Other types of fat are the unsaturated fats - monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. These types of fat are found in higher amounts in plant foods such as nuts, seeds, and certain fruits and vegetables.

How Much Fat is Recommended Per Day

To give the percentages some perspective, if you eat 2000 calories per day, you should eat no more than 78 grams of fat to maintain a diet less than 35% of calories. For the same number of calories, you should eat fewer than 22 grams of saturated fat.

Your personal fat goals depend on your calorie needs and could be higher or lower than these numbers. Your personal calorie needs are determined by your gender, body size, life stage, and level of physical activity.

Low Fat Diets to Treat High Cholesterol

Even though moderate fat diets are now considered healthy, people with high cholesterol or other conditions may be prescribed a more fat-restrictive diet. If you have high LDL cholesterol or have a high risk of heart disease, a diet with less than 30% of total calories from fat and nor more than 7% of calories from saturated fat may be recommended.


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