How much fat should you eat per day?
The FDA says the maximum standard of total fat you should eat per day—if you follow a 2,000-calorie a day diet—is 78 grams. Of course, this number can vary by individual depending on how many calories you eat per day. However, this should be used as a benchmark.
For example, Klodas says a smaller woman who only requires 1,500 calories a day may only need a maximum of 58 grams of total fat per day. On the other hand, an elite athlete who needs about 3,500 calories each day to maintain weight could eat as much as 135 grams of total fat in one day.
In addition, no more than 10% of your daily calories should be devoted to saturated fat. So if you eat about 2,000 calories each day, you should limit your saturated fat consumption to 22 grams, tops. However, the American Heart Association suggests that you consume half that number at just 13 grams per day in order to promote good heart health.
Trans fats should be avoided altogether, and they’re often sneakily hidden in packaged, heavily processed foods. One way you can make sure you’re not accidentally eating something that has trans fat in it is by scanning the nutrition label to see if it includes hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. If it does, consider skipping it.
What are some potential long-term side effects of eating too much fat?
As is the case with eating too much of any single type of food, you miss out on various other vital nutrients that you could inevitably receive from eating a diverse group of foods. So if you were to favor eating foods that are high in fat, such as meat, certain types of fish, and even nuts versus eating a balance of different foods such as leafy greens, fruit, and whole grains, you could become deficient in several key vitamins and minerals.
Another thing Klodas warns about is altering your body’s innate biochemistry. If you regularly consume calorie-dense foods or foods that are high in fat and notice that you’re increasingly packing on the pounds, you could put yourself at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance. That can lead to Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and hypertension.
Not to mention, Klodas says consistently eating too much fat can increase your cancer risk. “Studies looking at eating habits of various populations and health metrics show a consistent relationship between high fat intake and high overall cancer rates,” she says.