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How much fat should be given to old people?

Q: How much fat is required per day for a man of 50 years age?

A:A healthy diet provides the right balance of carbohydrate, fat and protein to reduce risks for chronic diseases and this is obtained from a variety of foods that are available, affordable and enjoyable. Fat is a concentrated source of calories with more than twice the amount of energy by weight compared to carbohydrates and protein. We all need some fat in our diets. Fat provides the body with a concentrated source of energy. Certain components of fat are essential parts of our body cells and are needed to make hormones. It also helps to insulate our body and small amounts around the major organs have a protective effect. Several vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) are also fat-soluble and tend to be found in foods with a high fat content. Current national guidelines recommend limiting fat intake to less than 30% of total calories. Thirty percent of your calorie need will amount to 67 grams of fat on a 2000-calorie diet and 40 grams of fat on a 1200-calorie diet. An excessive fat intake is associated with obesity, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, certain cancers etc. As we age our fat intake, in any case, should be between 15 and 30% of the total calorie intake; and ideally, should not come predominantly from animal sources. Here are the specifics relating to fat:

  • Total fat intake should be less than 30 percent of total calories.
  • Less than 10 percent of calories should come from saturated fats such as those found in animal products (meat and full-fat dairy). The American Heart Association recommends we consume less than 7 percent of calories from saturated fat.
  • Most fat should come from monounsaturated or polyunsaturated sources (for instance fish, nuts, canola and olive oils and spreads.
  • We should keep consumption of trans fats as low as possible (anything that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated on the label). The American Heart Association recommends a trans-fat intake of less than 1 percent.
  • We should consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
  • Meat, poultry and dairy selections should be lean, low fat or fat free.
  • We should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of oils a day (cooking oils, and those in salad dressings and mayonnaise).

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