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Home > Health Archive > Fat & Cholesterol

Fat & Cholesterol

Fat & Cholesterol
Fat & Cholesterol


Do you feel like you need a calculator in hand to manage dietary fat?

Do you feel guilty when you eat your favorite food if it is not labeled low fat?

Do you care about cholesterol?

There's no need to worry or feel guilty. You can manage fat and cholesterol in your diet.

How much fat is right for you?

  • The answer depends on how many calories you eat.
  • Dietary guidelines suggest that total fat in the diet should be no more than 30% of total daily calories.
  • That means a person who eats 2,000 calories a day should have about 65 grams of fat.

| Recommended  Sources of Calories Chart |


How to estimate your dietary fat goal

| Dietary Fat Chart |

Food Facts

  • Not every food you eat needs to contain 30% of fat from calories.
  • Over the course of a day, some foods you eat may be lower in fat, some higher.
  • The combination of foods eaten over the course of several days should average no more than 30% of calories from fat.

Lower Fat Foods Can Measure Up

Supermarkets today are stocked with delicious tasting reduced-fat and fat-free foods. These choices can help you reduce fat without missing out on other key nutrients that you expect in foods. Let's compare key nutrients in:

Process Cheese Slices

Singles Cheese Slices (1 slice = 3/4 oz.)


2% Milk
Reduced Fat Singles

Reduced Fat




2g less fat




20 fewer calories




About the same calcium

Pudding Snacks

Compare Pudding Snacks (1 snack)

Pudding Snack

Fat Free
Pudding Snack

Fat Free




5g less fat



60 fewer calories



About the same calcium

Italian Dressing

Compare Italian Dressing (2 tablespoons)


Fat Free

Fat Free




11g less fat



90 fewer calories

How to Manage Fat the Easy Way

  • Substitute lower fat or fat free versions of traditional foods. For example, use fat free dressing on your salad.
  • Balance a higher fat food with a lower fat food. If you like a bologna sandwich, for example, go ahead and enjoy your favorite lunch meat and use a slice of 2% milk reduced fat cheese and light mayonnaise to "balance" the fat in the sandwich.
  • Try lower fat products in your favorite recipes. For example, use fat free sour cream, fat free cream cheese or lowfat yogurt in your favorite dip recipe.
  • Change your cooking methods. If you typically fry chicken, fish or potatoes try baking these foods with a seasoning and coating mixture.

Cholesterol Check

Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less per day, according to health experts. But keep in mind:

  • Having too much saturated fat in the diet, more so than too much dietary cholesterol, may contribute to high blood cholesterol.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight and being physically active can help keep blood cholesterol in check.
  • Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain fiber is beneficial.

Questions & Answers About Fat & Cholesterol

Q: Is fat really needed in the diet?
A: Yes, some fat is absolutely necessary for good health. Fat carries fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K needed in the body for various functions. Fat is also a source of energy for the body and, together with carbohydrate, can be important in fueling long periods of aerobic physical activities like walking, bicycling and swimming.

Q: What is cholesterol?
A: Cholesterol is a building block of cells, vitamins and hormones in the body. The human body makes cholesterol in all cells of the body and also gets cholesterol from some foods in the diet. It is transported in the bloodstream to other cells or for elimination by the body.

Learn About Label Terms for Fat & Cholesterol

Here's what food product labels tell you about fat and cholesterol:

Fat Free Less than 0.5 grams fat per serving
Low Fat 3 grams or less fat per serving
Reduced/Lower Fat At least 25% less fat per serving when compared to a similar food
Cholesterol Free Less than 2 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Low Cholesterol 20 milligrams or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Light Modified amounts of calories and/or fat (or sometimes sodium) per serving. Check the label for specific information.


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