Ask The Expert
February 14, 2011
The number of grams of saturated fat can be based on your daily calorie needs.
If you maintain a healthy weight at 2000 calories a day, a good target for your saturated fat is less than 16 grams per day. This is based on 7% of total calories:
2000 x 7% = 140 saturated fat calories
Because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat, we divide 140 saturated fat calories by 9 to get the limit of 15.5 grams.
We use the limit of 7% of calories from saturated fat based on research from the so-called "Mediterranean diet." It is a heart healthy way of eating. This diet has only 7% to 8% of calories from saturated fat.
If you are trying to lose weight or consume fewer total calories, you would need less saturated fat. For example, a 1500 calorie diet would limit saturated fat to less than 12 grams per day using the formula above.
Remember, one of the most potent fats that can affect your cholesterol is trans fat. You should try to avoid all sources of trans fats. They are found in foods with "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." This includes many margarines, packaged and processed bakery goods, fried foods and some frozen meals.