How Much Fat Should You Eat?

Low-fat diets have (thankfully) fallen out of fashion. But how much fat is too much? Nutrition Diva investigates

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #208

The obvious corollary to Willett’s suggestion that the IOM’s recommended range for fat might be too low is that the recommended range for carbohydrates could be too high—at least for the type of carbs that we seem to prefer.

You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing

Of course, simply eating more fat doesn’t guarantee that your diet will be healthier. You want to be sure that you’re choosing healthy sources of fats, which it sounds like Katrina is. And even though nuts and avocados are chock full of healthy fats, you can consume a lot of calories in just a few bites. Too many calories—even from healthy foods—can translate into unwanted weight gain. Fortunately, it sounds like Katrina is also keeping an eye on her total calorie intake.

Check out: Can You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories?

And finally, you want to be sure that your diet is otherwise balanced and nutritious, limiting empty calories and including lots of fruits and vegetables and good sources of protein. Again: Bravo, Katrina!

A Healthy Diet is More Than Just a Number

And now I hope you understand why I reproduced Katrina’s email in its entirety. If Katrina’s question had simply been “Is 40% of calories from fat too much?” I wouldn’t have known how to answer her. It’s like trying to decide whether you like a symphony having heard only the timpani part.

There are a lot of ways to put together a healthy diet. Your diet might be lower in protein or higher in fat than mine. But single numbers like how many grams of protein or fat you eat in a day don’t tell the whole story. It’s all about the big picture. And based on her email, it sounds like Katrina is definitely on the right track. Keep up the good work!

Keep in Touch

Thanks again to Katrina for her email. I’ll be sending her a signed copy of my book,Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About.  It’s available wherever you buy or download books.

If you are a new or recent college grad, or know someone who is, be sure to pick up a copy of our latest ebook, Quick and Dirty Tips for Life After College. It’s jam-packed with tips on every aspect of your new life, from me and the other Quick and Dirty Tips experts.

Post your comments and questions below or come join the discussion on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page. I always love to hear from you! I answer a lot of listener questions in my free weekly newsletter, so if you’ve sent a question my way, be sure you’re signed up to receive that.

Have a great week and remember to eat something good for me.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.