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Fats - profile, daily requirement and more

Fats - profile, daily requirement & more

Want to find out everything you need to know about fats and fatty acids? Then this article is just right for you! On the one hand, fats are first loved and later hated as part of a high-calorie diet - but on the other hand, they are also an important source of flavor and energy.

In this article, I would therefore like to provide you with the most important information about good and bad fats. We'll start with the basic information, followed by the daily requirement, physiological importance of fats, the best sources of fat and what vegans and vegetarians should look out for when it comes to their fat intake.

Here is in advance a short Table of contents for you:

  1. Profile
  2. Basics
  3. Daily requirement
  4. Meaning
  5. Overdose
  6. Mangel
  7. Fat sources
  8. Vegan
  9. Food supplement
  10. Frequently asked questions

Notice: This article is not a substitute for medical advice, but merely provides general information about fats. Please consult your doctor if you feel unwell or want to prevent health problems with medical care.


Assignment: Macronutrients
Synonyms: Lipids
Important for: Energy supplier, cell membrane, hormone production, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
Daily requirement: 30-35 percent of caloric intake, from the age of 15.1,2
Overdose: approx. 35 percent of the calorie intake1,2
Deficiency symptoms: including vitamin deficiency and consequently disorders of skin, hair, growth, fertility, etc.
Food: Cold-pressed vegetable oils, nuts and nut butters
Food supplement: Omega-3 capsules or omega-3 oils

Basics about fats

Fat respectively Lipids are unfortunately still far too often labeled as harmful or fattening. Yet they have many important and vital functions in the body. That is why it is so important, High quality greases into the diet and reduce low-quality fats. But which fats are beneficial to health and which are not?3

A distinction is made between saturated and unsaturated fats. Whether it is saturated or unsaturated depends on the respective number of double bonds.

Saturated lipids, such as palm oil or many animal fats, do not have a double bond and have a negative effect on blood lipid levels. Monounsaturated fats, such as olive or rapeseed oil, have a double bond and are more beneficial to health. Polyunsaturated lipids contain more than one double bond and are considered essential, meaning they must be consumed in the diet. Examples of this are Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Notice: As unsaturated fatty acids oxidize more easily, you should use them up more quickly or buy them in smaller containers.

There are also long, medium and short-chain fatty acids, as well as saturated and monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids. It's quite difficult to get your head around this. Whether a fatty acid is short-, medium- or long-chain depends on the number of carbon atoms it contains.

Due to the small number of carbon atoms apply short-chain fatty acids like butter as easily digestible. Medium-chain fatty acidsCoconut oil, for example, is also easy to digest and is considered a good source of energy. Long-chain fatty acids have at least twelve carbon atoms and the digestion process takes considerably longer than with short- and medium-chain fatty acids.

The long chain fats are quickly stored in fat deposits if you consume more of them than you need. This is why a needs-based intake makes sense. Which brings us to the next question: how much fat do we actually need?

How much fat is useful?

High-quality, cold-pressed vegetable oils are good sources of fat.

Let's start with the minimum recommendation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends an intake of At least 15 percent of the calorie intake. With an intake of 1,800 calories, that would be 270 calories obtained from lipids, i.e. around 29 grams of fat.4

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a minimum intake of 20 percent of caloric intake and a maximum intake of 35 percent of caloric intake.2 In grams, with a daily intake of 1,800 calories, this means a minimum of 39 g and a maximum of 68 g of fat.

And the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends that from the age of 15, 30 percent of calories should come from lipids. For Children between 1 and 14 years, the recommendation is 30-35 percent. Likewise for pregnant and breastfeeding women.1:

What the body needs fats for

Fats are great Energy suppliers. They contain 9.3 calories per gram of fat. Fats are a good source of calories, especially if you have an increased calorie requirement. They are also important for the Absorption of the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K responsible. Lipids are also used for the Production of bile acid and hormones needed. Another function of fats, which has already been mentioned, is that they Flavor carrier and thus ensure that our meals taste good in the first place. As fat depots, lipids have other functions, namely thermal insulation and the function of a pressure cushion.

The elementary Functions of lipids:

  • Energy supplier
  • Absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Substrate for the formation of bile acid and hormones
  • Flavor carrier
  • Thermal insulation
  • Pressure pad

Notice: I have concentrated here on the essential functions of lipids in general. Individual fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acids can also have other functions.

Is there such a thing as "too much" fat?

In principle, there are specific toxicities of fats, but an excessive intake of fats affects various Disease patterns out. These include chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipoproteinemia, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.3 This is why most nutrition societies recommend a maximum intake of 35 percent of dietary calories.

Furthermore, the inclusion of the harmful trans fatty acids should be reduced. These include, in particular, lipids from dairy products and meat from ruminants, as well as fats in fast food and ready meals.

Another factor in the selection of fats is the Ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. This is because omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids require the same enzymes to be converted into other forms by the body.

Thus, if the intake of omega-6 is too high, the conversion of omega-3 is prevented.5 This should be a maximum of 5:1, i.e. you should consume a maximum of five times as much omega-6 as omega-3. With regard to this, linseed oil, rapeseed oil, coconut oil and hemp oil have a particularly good ratio and sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil and grape seed oil a poor one.6

Tip: How you Preventing heart disease in principle you can find out in more detail in a separate article.

Can there be a shortage?

A fat deficiency is very unlikely in practice if sufficient calories are eaten. Symptoms The main consequences of a fat deficiency are a vitamin deficiency and thus hair loss, skin disorders, infertility, weakening of the immune system and growth disorders.

People who suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia or who extremely restrict their fat intake are susceptible to a fat deficiency.

So what are some good sources of fat?

Nuts provide healthy fats

I don't choose my fat sources according to their fat content, but pay much more attention to which micronutrients they contain. Particularly good sources of fat are Nuts and seedsas, in addition to healthy fats, they contain many micronutrients such as Zinc, Calcium and Potassium included. Also Soy productssuch as tofu or tempeh provide a good fat content as well as other nutrients such as Protein, Folic acid or Iron. These fat sources are supplemented by a selection of high-quality oils.

The following list contains particularly good sources of fat:

  • Tahini
  • Peanut butter
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame
  • Flaxseed
  • Olives
  • Tempeh
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil

Do vegans consume enough fats?

The vegan diet actually offers many advantages over a mixed-food or vegetarian diet in terms of fat supply. It is free from cholesterol and contains far less saturated fatty acids. Nuts, nut butters, seeds, soy products and vegetable oils also provide sufficient fat in a vegan diet. Consequently, fat has not been declared by the DGE as a potentially critical nutrient in a plant-based diet. However, the special long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are definitely critical and should therefore be supplemented.7

Is it possible to supplement fat?

Supplementing fat per se is obviously neither effective nor necessary. However, it makes sense to supplement the rare omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, especially when following a vegan diet. You can find more information on this in the separate article on omega 3.

Two very good omega-3 supplements in drop or capsule form that I can recommend:

  • Drop from Vivo Life (600 mg DHA, 300 mg EPA per daily dose):
    you get here*
  • Capsules from Mind Body Nutrition (500 mg DHA, 250 mg EPA per daily dose):
    you get here*

Fat FAQ: The most frequently asked questions

Which fats are healthy?

Medium and long-chain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are particularly recommended. These include olive oil, coconut oil and linseed oil.

Which is healthier - saturated or unsaturated fatty acids?

Unsaturated fatty acids are considered to be beneficial to health and improve blood lipid levels, while saturated fatty acids are more likely to be harmful to health.

What are unsaturated fatty acids?

Unsaturated fatty acids have either one or more double bonds. Monounsaturated fatty acids are, for example, olive oil or rapeseed oil. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

What are good sources of fat?

Good sources of fat include nuts, nut butters and seeds, as well as high-quality, cold-pressed vegetable oils.

Where does the name fat come from?

The name fat comes from the word vet (Middle Low German) and feist (Upper Middle German), which means ester of glycerol and fatty acids.

Choose the right fats!

It is therefore important to choose high-quality fat sources rather than compulsively reducing fats. If you include nuts, nut butters and seeds, as well as high-quality, cold-pressed vegetable oils in your diet, you are generally well supplied with lipids.

A good fat intake is only one part of holistic health. If you are interested in holistic health interested, then take a look at the contributions to the Cold showers, Nature and fresh air or Meditation in. If you would like to know more about fats and I have left a question unanswered, please leave me a comment here!

All the best,

Julian from CareElite

P.S.: Our Nutrient database includes contributions to many other nutrients, such as Selenium, Vitamin C or Magnesium . If you are currently changing your diet and eating a vegan diet, then the article "Living vegan" I'm sure you'll find it interesting too. Have fun!


1 German Society for Nutrition e. V.: Fat, [05.11.2021]

2 European Food Safety Authority: Scientific Opinion on Dietary reference values for fats, including saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and cholesterol, . [05.11.2021]

3 German Nutrition Society: DGE recommends: Pay attention to fat quantity and quality. Fat intake plays a role in disease prevention, [05.11.2021]

4 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2010): Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition: report of an expert consultation: 10-14 November 2008, Geneva,, [05.11.2021].

5 Zentrum der Gesundheit: Which fat for which purpose, [05.11.2021]

6 Zentrum der Gesundheit: Omega 3: The effects of these fatty acids, [05.11.2021]

7 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Supplement to the position of the German Nutrition Society regarding population groups with special nutritional needs, [05.11.2021].

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Julian Hölzer

Julian Hölzer

Hi, my name is Julian and I am a trained vegan nutritionist. In 2016 I started to get involved with veganism and quickly learned how big an impact our diet has on the environment and how diverse plant-based diets can be. That's why I want to inspire you to get involved with veganism too.

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