Food packaging can be confusing and slightly overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what all the different terms mean.
When you’re trying to lose weight or just make some healthier choices, you might be more aware of these details, especially the calorie content.
When you pay close attention to the back of the packet, you might have noticed that you’re given the information for the number of ‘calories’ in the food as well as another number which is referred to as the ‘calories from fat’.
Have you ever wondered what this means?
Here we are going to explore what is meant by the term calories from fat and what you need to know about this number.
We’ve all heard of calories and we know that having lots of them in our meals isn’t good for our health. But what actually are calories?
They refer to the amount of energy in an item of food or drink. So a calorie is a unit of energy and we need this energy to power our bodies.
The more calories a food has means that it provides you with more energy.
One way to monitor and regulate weight loss is to count calories.
Generally speaking, we need to consume fewer calories than we burn throughout the day in order to lose weight and vice versa.
Calories From Fat
The ‘calories from fat’ refers to the number of calories that you’re receiving from fat in the food.
We need to monitor our fat intake as consuming too much can affect our health and increase the risk of developing heart disease.
It is recommended by the American Heart Association that our fat intake should be 30% of our total daily calorie intake.
The average adult woman is likely to need between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day.
Therefore, if she is eating 1,600 calories per day, 480 of these calories should come from fat.
Having this number indicated on the food label makes it handy to keep an eye on how much fat you’re consuming throughout the day.
Do We Need To Eat Fat?
Fat is a word we’re usually made to fear when it comes to food and dieting.
But fat isn’t a bad word, it’s one of the essential six nutrients that we need to keep our bodies healthy.
There are three out of the six key nutrients that provide us with calories: carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
When we eat more calories than we need, our bodies store this extra energy as fat. This is an evolutionary adaptation that would’ve helped our ancestors survive.
Eating a small amount of fat provides our bodies with essential fatty acids that the body cannot make itself.
These fats help our bodies to absorb vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and E.
Without fats we wouldn’t be able to absorb these key nutrients which provide us with many health benefits.
A healthy amount of fat also helps in maintaining healthy body weight and in the prevention of heart disease and strokes.
Measuring The Amount Of Fat You Consume
Reading the nutrition labels on the back of your food packaging is essential to monitor the amount of fat you’re consuming.
Fats have around 9 calories per gram which is more than twice the amount of carbohydrates and proteins, so we need to be more careful when it comes to counting them.
Luckily, the calories from fat information help with this.
Food labels should indicate how much fat is in each serving in grams and percentages which can help you to compare the daily amount of fat you can consume to stay healthy.
Working all this out in your head, or noting it on a piece of paper can be tiresome and frustrating.
There are free online tools and smartphone apps that you can use to do this instead.
Here you can monitor how much fat you consume within a day and determine whether or not you’re making good food choices.
Healthy Sources Of Fat
It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to fat, there are many delicious sources of fat that are healthy for you. This includes:
- Fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Chia seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
Some of these should be eaten in small amounts, such as cheese.
Although it contains a lot of calcium and protein, it still contains fat so if eaten in excess it may lead to health problems.
Avoiding Unhealthy Sources Of Fat
Unhealthy sources of fats include saturated and trans fats which can raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood.
Having high cholesterol means you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels which can make it hard for blood to flow through your arteries.
This can lead to heart disease or sudden heart attacks and strokes.
Fatty Foods To Avoid
From a young age, we’re warned to stay away from fatty foods as they are high in calories and have a limited nutrient value. These include:
- Potato chips
- Fast food
- Butter and lard
- Biscuits, cakes, and pastries
The list could go on. Most sources of saturated fats come from animal products such as meat and dairy.
Trans fats are found in these food sources at lower levels but are mainly found in vegetable oils used for cooking.
Calories from fat are the number of calories you receive from the fat in foods. In moderation, fats aren’t an issue especially when they are healthy sources of fat.
Around 30% of our daily calorie intake should be made up of sources of fat to help maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Avoiding saturated and trans fats is important in preventing high cholesterol levels which can lead to heart disease, and strokes.
We hope you found this article interesting and informative, helping you understand what is meant by ‘calories from fat’ and why we need to monitor how much fat we are consuming.