Dietary fat is essential as a source of essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and as an energy source during low intensity or prolonged exercise at below 80% of maximum heart rate. The optimal daily intake of fat should be between 25 and 30% of energy intake in both a young and masters athletes. It appears that older populations are meeting this recommendation with Australian National Nutrition Surveys showing that the mean percent energy intake for persons aged 25-65 years and over was approximately 32% for males and 33% for females with no difference between young and older groups.
Older people retain their ability to digest, absorb and utilise fat. Masters athletes appear to consume fat in greater quantities than the recommended population targets or healthy but inactive age-matched controls. Older athletes consuming greater than 30% of daily energy intake as fat may compromise cardiovascular health. As in younger athletes, older athletes on a low energy diet should consume between 20-25% of daily energy intake from fat sources in order for more energy to be derived from carbohydrate and protein. A daily energy intake containing less than 20% fat may compromise the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and limit the feeling of fullness between meals.