Between 1970 and 2008, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in American adults. Obesity is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and premature death. Controlling caloric intake, and fat intake can help with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
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Men's Caloric Needs
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 provides estimated caloric needs based on age, gender and activity level. Moderately active men need different amounts of calories, depending on their age. Men who are between the ages of 19 and 30 should consume between 2,600 and 2,800 calories per day. Moderately active men between the ages of 31 and 50 need between 2,400 and 2,600 calories per day. Men who are over the age of 51 need between 2,200 and 2,400 calories. Caloric needs may be more or less, depending on your personal activity level.
Women's Caloric Needs
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that women consume an appropriate amount of calories, based on their age and physical activity level. Women who are between the ages of 19 and 30 should consume between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day if they are moderately active. Women between the ages of 31 and 50 should get 2,000 calories per day. Women who are 51 or older should consume 1,800 calories, if they lead a moderately active lifestyle. Caloric needs may increase or decrease, depending on how active you are.
Fat provides 9 calories per gram. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends that 20 percent to 35 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat for adults over the age of 19. Limiting your fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of total calories can reduce your risk for chronic disease, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The Type of Fat Matters
Dietary fat is comes from both animal and plant sources. There are four types of fat: saturated, trans fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The type of fat you consume can influence your risk for cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat and trans fat intake is more associated with heart disease and high cholesterol and comes from animal sources of fat. American diets find most of their saturated fat in full-fat cheeses, pizza, dairy-based desserts, chicken, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats come from plant sources of fat and are found in vegetable oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. By only consuming 10 percent of calories from saturated fat and replacing saturated fat in the diet with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, you can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Consuming only 7 percent of calories from saturated fat is associated with even lower risk of heart disease.