The dietary role of fats is not a simple one. Although a moderate amount of fat is needed in everyone’s diet, many people go overboard. The consumption of too much fat, and fat of the “wrong” type, may be linked to two of this country’s greatest health problems: obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Good nutrition depends on as little as one tablespoon of dietary fat each day. Most people exceed that amount many times over. While holding off on butter and mayonnaise, they may still be eating large amounts of hidden fat in foods.
For most essential nutrients there is a recommended minimum daily amount. Some nutritionists feel that a recommended maximum would help people keep their fat intake down to levels more consistent with good health. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend a reduction in the percentage of total daily calories consumed as fat – from the national average of almost 45 percent to no more.