Dietary fats- nutrition and calories

Dietary fats- nutrition and calories

We all think fats are bad for our health. But that’s not true. Not all fats are bad. In fact, some fats are also needed to maintain good health. But which ones are they? Which fats should you consume and which ones you should avoid? Did you know that the excess calories we consume in the form of food and water become stored as body fat? 

Let’s give you an insight into dietary fats and their types- in this article.  

What are dietary fats? 

Fat that we consume as nutrients are called Dietary fats. These have double the energy per gram than carbohydrates and protein. One gram of fat has 9 calories in it. These fats help to maintain good skin and hair health, insulate the body, protect organs, work as an energy storage source, help vitamins to move around the body and are used to make some hormones.  

Types of Dietary Fats 

 There are 4 types of dietary fats. These are: 

  1. Saturated fat: Saturated fat is made of chains of carbon atoms bonded with hydrogen. They are usually solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are also called ‘bad fats’ as they raise your total cholesterol which can cause cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke. 
    • Sources of saturated fat 
      • Butter 
      • Ghee 
      • Coconut oil 
      • Red meat 
      • Sausage 
      • Bacon 
      • Cheese 
      • Chocolate 
      • Ice cream 
      • Palm oil and many more.  
    • Saturated fat is found in high quantities in processed foods and drinks like pastries, biscuits, and cold drinks. It is recommended that you take low quantities of saturated fats in your diet and eat foods such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. A Mediterranean diet, which focuses on lean meat and unsaturated fats is good for your health.  
  2. Trans fat: Most of the trans fat is made by industrial processing by heating the liquid vegetable oils with hydrogen to make them solid at room temperature so that the food lasts longer. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fats, like saturated fats, also lead to cardiovascular diseases by increasing cholesterol levels in your blood. They are found in processed foods such as pastries, pies, cakes, biscuits, and buns. This fat is not good for you. 
    • Sources 
      • French fries and other fried foods 
      • Baked goods and processed foods (Cakes, pies, biscuits, cookies, crackers, doughnuts, bagels, and others)  
      • Margarine 
      • Microwave popcorn 
      • Frozen foods (like pizza) 
  3. Monounsaturated fat: It’s called good fat as it helps to lower your cholesterol (when you replace them with saturated fats in your diet). It has just one unsaturated chemical bond (in contrast to polyunsaturated fats, which have multiple unsaturated chemical bonds). Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and turn solid when refrigerated. 
    • Sources 
      • Olives 
      • Olive oil, Peanut oil, and canola oil 
      • Avocados 
      • Pumpkin seeds 
      • Pecan nuts  
      • Hazelnuts  
  4. Polyunsaturated fat: This fat is similar to monosaturated fat, but the main difference is it has many unsaturated chemical bonds, which makes it valuable for good health. It has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in it, which are found in many animal and plant sources. Our bodies cannot make these fatty acids, so it’s important to consume them.  
    • Sources 
      • Walnuts. 
      • Sunflower seeds. 
      • Flax seeds or flax oil. 
      • Fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and trout). 
      • Corn oil. 
      • Soybean oil. 
      • Safflower oil. 

Functions of fat 

The major functions that fats perform in your body include: 

  • It gives energy to your body.  
  • Help to protect your organs. 
  • Act as a storage source of energy. 
  • It supports your cell growth. 
  • Good fats keep your cholesterol within range. 
  • Controlling blood pressure. 
  • It helps the body to absorb vital nutrients. 

How much fat does your body need? 

A Diet with moderate unsaturated fat and less saturated fats is adequate for good health without any diseases. 

  • Although, the Institute of American Heart Association recommends that the average adult should eat 2000 calories a day which he/she should eat 25 to 35% calories of fat. That means 80 grams of fat or less in a day. 
  • The American Heart Association recommends that you consume no more than 5% or 6% of your daily calories from saturated fat.  

What kind of fats should you avoid? 

  • Fats that contain carbon atoms chains bonded with hydrogen should be avoided. There are only two types of fat that contain these chemical bonds-saturated fats and trans fats. These are not only bad for your health but can cause serious diseases too.  
  • Replace the saturated and trans-fat with unsaturated fats. Don’t remove the saturated fats from your diet permanently, just reduce the quantity. The best dietary fat intake proportion is where you get 95% of unsaturated fat and 5% of saturated fat. 

Guidelines for dietary fat intake 

According to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), as an adult, you should consume 20 to 35% of fats in your total calorie intake (that means about 44 grams to 77 grams of fats if you eat 2000 calories a day). And for kids, it should be around 30 to 35% of total calorie intake for 2 to 3 years old and 4 to 18 years, and for adolescents, it should be 25 to 35 % (like adults).  

It is recommended that you should consume more good/healthy fats than bad fats (saturated/trans fats) which are not good for your health.  

The number of fat types that we should consume in a day includes: 

  • Monounsaturated fat: 15% to 20% 
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 5% to 10% 
  • Saturated fat: less than 10% 
  • Trans fat: 0% 
  • Cholesterol: less than 300 mg (about the weight of ten grains of rice) per day 

Want a diet plan for good health? Talk to our dietitians. They will prescribe you a diet based on what your body needs exactly. Call 1-347-384-5690 or if you want to learn more about diet and nutrition, walk in for an appointment at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212. You can also visit our website to book an appointment online at or contact us at if you have any queries. 



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