Fat provides more calories per gram than protein or carbs, and routinely overindulging in fatty foods can pack on unwanted pounds. The type of fat you choose can affect your body weight as well. A study published in 2007 in “Obesity” found that saturated and trans fats are associated with more weight gain than healthier fats, especially in already overweight women. Limiting your total calorie intake to recommended levels will help you maintain -- or achieve -- a toned figure.
Grams to Calories
Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Therefore, multiply the grams of fat you eat by nine to determine how many calories you’re getting from fat. For example, eating 10 grams of fat means you’re consuming 90 calories from fat. If you eat 25 grams of fat, you’re getting 225 calories from fat. The number of calories you should eat from fat daily depends on your total calorie needs.
Don’t avoid fat entirely, even if you’re trying to shed pounds. MedlinePlus reports that fat helps give your hair and skin that healthy glow, aids in vitamin absorption, controls inflammation and even keeps your brain healthy. The Institute of Medicine recommends women get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fat, which is 44 to 78 grams of fat daily for women following 2,000-calorie diets. If you're trying to lose weight and you're on a 1,200-calorie diet, aim for 27 to 47 grams of fat daily.
Calories to Grams
If you know your total calorie needs, you can easily calculate your dietary fat recommendations. First determine 20 and 35 percent of your individualized calorie needs. Then, divide each of those numbers by nine to determine the range of how many fat grams you should eat daily. To estimate your total calorie needs, multiply your body weight in pounds by 10 if you’re overweight or obese, 13 if you don’t exercise much, 15 if you’re moderately active and 18 if you’re a regular exerciser. For example, a 130-pound, moderately active woman needs about 1,950 calories daily to maintain her weight.
Sources of Fat
Not all fats are bad. Sources of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, soy butters, fatty fish such as salmon, purified fish oils, avocados and olives. For example, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain 16 grams of fat and one-third of an avocado provides about 10 grams of fat, equaling just over 25 grams of fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Data Laboratory. Fats that can clog your arteries when consumed in excess are found in high-fat meats, cream, ice cream, butter, other full-fat dairy foods, margarine and shortening.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.