Recommended Fat Intake

Fat in your Diet

  • Including fats in your diet is essential for good health. However, too much fat can contribute to obesity and a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gall stones and certain cancers.
  • Dietary fats/oils contain more than double the energy (calories) of carbohydrates and protein per gram:

Energy Values Per Gram

Carbohydrate: 4 Calories – 17 kilojoules
Protein: 4 Calories – 16 kilojoules
Fat/Oil: 9 Calories – 37 kilojoules
Alcohol: 7 Calories – 29 kilojoules
  • Dietary fat is more readily converted to and stored as body fat, compared to carbohydrates and protein.
  • Consuming more carbohydrates than your body needs means any excess carbohydrates may also be converted and stored as body fat – especially in women in their fertile years when extra fat pads are more readily laid down in the thighs and buttocks.
  • Excess alcohol lessens your body’s ability to burn fat. Fat storage is promoted, particularly in the belly – a danger zone.

Recommended Fat Intake

Australians consume too much fat, with many obtaining over 40% of their total calories/kilojoules from fat – either as fat or oil, or as fat in foods and drinks. A range of 20-30% is considered much healthier.

Healthy Ranges for Fat Intake

Children: 30-60g
Teenagers (Active) : 40-80g
Women : 30-60g
Men (Active): 40-80g
Heavy Activity/Athlete: 80-120g

The chart below shows the recommended maximum fat intake for different energy levels.

Maximum Desirable Daily Fat Intake
Calories kJoules Fat % Cals/kJ

From Fat

1200 cals

1500 cals

1800 cals

2000 cals

2200 cals

2500 cals

2800 cals

3000 cals

3500 cals

4000 cals


6300 kJ


8400 kJ


10,500 kJ


12,500 kJ


16,700 kJ

30g fat

40g fat

50g fat

60g fat

70g fat

80g fat

90g fat

100g fat

117g fat

135g fat











Note: At lower calorie levels, the percent of calories from fat should decrease to allow for protein calories (which have nutritional priority).

Infants Fat Intake

Infants and toddlers under 3 years shouldn’t be restricted in their fat intake, because much larger volumes of food are required to guarantee adequate energy intake and growth. Whole milk should be used, rather than low-fat milk.

Similarly, a high fibre diet is not suitable for infants.

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