What Percentage of My Daily Calories Should Come From Fat?

Although dietary fat is an essential nutrient that your body requires to stay healthy, too much fat – especially unhealthy fat – can lead to overweight, obesity and an increased risk for heart disease. Your individualized dietary fat requirements depend on your total caloric needs, but the percentage of your daily calories that should come from fat remains fairly constant.

Acceptable Range

The acceptable macronutrient distribution range for dietary fat is 20 to 35 percent, which means that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat, according to the Institute of Medicine 1. Since fat contains 9 calories per gram, aim for 44 to 78 grams of fat daily when eating 2,000 calories per day and 56 to 97 grams of fat per day when following a 2,500-calorie meal plan.


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Athletes who have high caloric needs and who require greater amounts of protein and carbohydrates -- and individuals who are overweight or obese -- may benefit from staying in the lower range of the AMDR. Athletes should aim to get at least 20 – but no more than 30 – percent of their calories from dietary fat, which is 44 to 67 grams of fat daily when eating 2,000 calories a day, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2. Harvard Health Publications suggests that overweight individuals should aim to get 20 to 25 percent of their calories from fat, which is 44 to 56 grams of fat daily for a 2,000-calorie diet 3.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Eat fewer than 22 grams of saturated fat per day when eating 2,000 calories a day, and fewer than 27 grams of saturated fat daily when following a 2,500-calorie meal plan.

Fat in Foods

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Choose heart-healthy, unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats and trans fats, whenever possible. Limit or avoid trans fats in margarine, shortenings, fried foods and commercial baked goods – and saturated fats in high-fat meats, butter and full-fat dairy foods -- such as:

  • cheese
  • whole milk
  • ice cream