Percent of what?
Fat intake recommendations are given as a percentage of daily caloric intake, because a healthful fat intake can probably vary depending on how much food you are eating. Daily calorie intake goes up with size and activity level. In general, larger and more active people metabolize more calories and more fat, so a higher fat intake is not harmful, so long as one is not overweight (overfat).
Some clients ask for help estimating how many grams of fat they should eat in a day. The trick here is estimating daily caloric intake. Many people have no idea how many calories they eat or should eat. Therefore, most clients are happy to use the general daily caloric intake levels listed on food labels of 1,800 or 2,000 calories. In reality, adult men usually consume between 2,000 and 4,000 calories per day. Adult women generally consume 1,800 to 3,000 calories per day. So if a client is small and less active, the lower end of the range is probably appropriate, while larger, more active clients may eat well above the high end of the range.
Many clients will have lower daily caloric intake values, if they are restricting food intake to lose weight. Even people restricting food intake should not consume less than 1,400 calories per day.
To calculate a recommended fat intake, here’s what you do: Thirty percent of the daily caloric intake gives the number of calories that can come from fat. Divide that number by nine (nine calories/gm) and you get daily fat grams. Having made all of this terribly complicated, most clients have no need to be so precise, and are happy with a daily limit of 60 grams (for 1,800 calorie intake) or 67 grams (for 2,000 calories a day). Remember that a “fat allowance” is merely a suggested guideline, and the charts that give fat gram counts are estimates.
Also remember that a fat allowance can be spent throughout the day. A given food may be more than 20 or 30 percent fat, so long as others chosen throughout the day are lower.
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