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How to Calculate Calories from Fat

People are often very cautious as to what they are eating for fear of becoming overweight or obese. The nutrition labels are often very helpful in computing your daily caloric intake. Aside from knowing how much you are taking in, it might be helpful to check how many of these calories come from fat. Some fats are essential, but should be taken in small quantities. Consumers should also choose foods low in saturated fats because this type of fat gives rise to LDLs or bad cholesterol.

Calories from fat

A calorie is the unit of measurement for the energy provided by foods. People have certain caloric requirements per day. When someone wants to manage their weight, an increase or decrease in caloric consumption is required depending on the goal (whether to gain or lose weight).

Food components such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats have different percentages of calories required to metabolize them. Therefore, it is essential to know how calories are computed from fat sources. The following illustrates the step-by-step procedure in computing calories from fats and what percentage of calories do fats comprise in a certain food.

  1. Check the nutrition label on packaged foods. If you are using fresh foods, check the corresponding nutrition information from nutrition databases.
  2. Determine the fat content of the food in grams.
  3. Calculate the calories from fats. Multiply the fat grams (found in nutrition labels) by nine (9).

Each gram of fat yields 9 calories, which means multiplying the total fat by 9 results in the total calories given by the certain grams of fat. A great deal of calories comes from fat, with carbohydrates and protein only yielding 4 calories per gram. This means that a square inch of butter provides more than twice as many calories than a square inch of meat of similar weight.

For example: 4 grams of fat x 9 = 36 calories.
In this example, the food contains 4 grams of fat, which means there are 36 calories that are derived from fat per serving.

4. Calculate the percentage of fat calories. Divide total calories from fat (based on computation above) by the total number of calories, and then multiply by 100.

This computes how many of the calories come from fat in a certain item. Dietary guidelines suggest that about 20 to 30 percent of calories should be taken from various fats. Consuming more than that amount means that you are taking in too much fat, which may lead to a high lipid or cholesterol levels.

For example: [36 calories (calories from fat) ÷ 150 calories (total calories)] x 100 =24%.
In this example, calories of the food comprise 24% calories from fat, which is a desired amount.

5. Compute the total amount of calories from fat based on serving size. Multiply the calories from fats derived in the third step by the number of servings in one package.

The total calories from fat should be calculated to know whether it is good to consume more than one serving of that type of food. This will also aid those who want to reduce their weight to watch the number of servings they are eating. It does not mean that one bag of potato chips should be consumed in one sitting because one bag may be comprise several servings already.

When looking at product labels, it is not just important to check the calories from fat, but also the composition of saturated fats and trans fats. It is essential to pick foods with no or fewer saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats tend to harden on the blood vessel walls leading to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Unsaturated fats are more essential because these increase the good cholesterol or HDLs, which decreases the risk for certain heart diseases and atherosclerosis. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils and fish oils in the form of omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are some of the sources of saturated fats and unsaturated fats.

Saturated Fats are found in:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Cheese
  3. Cream
  4. Butter
  5. Lard
  6. Fatty meats
  7. Coconut oil
  8. Cottonseed oil
  9. Palm oil
  10. Beef
  11. Eggs
  12. Cashews
  13. Soybean oil

Unsaturated Fats are found in:

  1. Avocado
  2. Nuts
  3. Vegetable oils
  4. Olive oil
  5. Canola oil
  6. Fish

Fats are essential to the body for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and body processes. However, people should choose essential fats rather than dangerous fats, such as saturated fats.

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