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Fat: How Much Is Too Much?

Posted by nutritionist 10/04/2018 0 Comment(s) weight and diet,healthy lifestyle,

Why we require some fat in our diet?

Fat plays a vital role in our body. It provides us with energy and insulation. Fat also keeps our skin healthy and serves as a transport system for fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K).

Why moderate fat intake?

Fat is a concentrated source of calories, providing us with more than double the quantity of calories per gram of fat (9 kcal/g) than carbohydrate or protein (4 kcal/g). As such, excessive consumption will cause weight gain and obesity. Obesity can increase one’s risk of many serious diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and specific cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver).

4 Types of Fat

The bad fats

  1. Trans fat
  • Produced in the hydrogenation of vegetable oils, an industrial process which converts liquid oil to hard margarine and shortening.
  • Increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol and decreases high-density lipoproteins (HDL) “good” cholesterol levels, resulting in an elevated risk of heart disease
  • Sources: cakes, pastries, biscuits, products containing vegetable-shortening, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils
  1. Saturated fat
  • Raises LDL cholesterol level, causing increased risk of heart disease
  • Sources: high-fat dairy products, animal fats (e.g. lard, fatty meat, poultry skin)

The good fats

  1. Polyunsaturated fat
  • Omega-3 decreases the triglyceride level in blood, prevents hardening of arteries and lowers blood clotting in arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease. Sources include salmon, sardine, mackerel, walnuts and camelina oil. 
  • Omega-6 decreases total and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, enhancing heart health. Sources include corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and camelina oil.  
  1. Monounsaturated fat
  • Decreases total and LDL-cholesterol levels
  • Sources include avocados, almonds, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and camelina oil. 

How much fat should we consume?

Table 1: Estimated Daily Allowance for the average Singaporean




Total fat



Saturated fat



Trans fat


*Intake of trans fat should be kept to a minimum.

  • The remaining total fat allowance should constitute of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Reading Food Labels

Use Table 2 and 3 as guidelines to interpret the fat and saturated fat contents in commercial food products.

Table 2: Implication of fat content and recommended frequency of consumption

Amount of Fat per 100g


Frequency of Consumption

More than 17.5g

HIGH in fat

Only have occasionally

3.1g – 17.5g


Alright to have most of the time

Less than 3g

LOW in fat

Healthier choice

Table 3: Implication of saturated fat (SF) content and recommended frequency of consumption 

Amount of SF per 100g


Frequency of Consumption

More than 5g


Only have occasionally

1.6g – 5g


Alright to have most of the time

Less than 1.5g


Healthier choice



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