Is It Possible to Eat Too Much Healthy Fat?

You know healthy fats like salmon, avocado, and olive oil are good for you, but can you overdo it? The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans don't give a strict upper limit for how much total fat you should eat (though they do recommend keeping saturated fat consumption to less than 10 percent of your daily calorie intake).

Healthy Fats

And as you know, healthy fats found in foods like avocado, nuts, salmon, and extra-virgin olive oil have many benefits. They provide your body with lasting energy, keep you feeling full longer, and help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. However, all dietary fat—both unhealthy trans and saturated fats and good-for-you monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—is more calorie-dense than protein and carbohydrates, so eating too much could lead to weight gain.

The types of fats found in food can be categorized as:

  • Unsaturated fat—considered heart-healthy—is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, and seafood
  • Saturated fat—deemed heart-unhealthy—is found in animal meat and butter, coconut oil, and palm oil
  • Trans fat—the least healthy fat—is found in fried food, baked products, and processed snack food

Look for words like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated on nutrition labeling to find heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

How Much To Eat

If you're a generally healthy adult, I suggest getting anywhere from 25% to 35% of your daily calories from mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which is a moderate amount.

So, if you eat, say, 2,000 calories per day, shoot for 65 grams or so of fat, which is equivalent to roughly one avocado plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

A registered dietitian can look at your diet and tailor that number to fit your needs.

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