Although there is no firm evidence to support the "ideal" or even "appropriate" healthy level of dietary fat, the habitual fat consumption pattern in Japan seems to be a criterion for the recommended allowance both in the quantitative and qualitative points of view as judged from the life expectancy and the incidence of degenerative diseases. The new recommended dietary allowance of Japan, fifth revision effective for five years starting in 1995, adopted dietary fat levels of 20-25 energy percent, the ratio of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids at 1:1.5:1 and the ratio of n-6/n-3 at 4. The recommended fat level is similar to that previously consumed in Japan, and is even lower than that in diets used to treat hyperlipidemia in Western countries, current recommendations in those countries being 30 energy percent fat. Convincing data for the beneficial effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on human health, in particular for healthy people, have been presented in only a few reports. However, the recommended n-6/n-3 ratio of 4 seems reasonable compared with the ratio of around 10 in other developed countries. In this context, it is more important to fully understand the nutritional and physiological roles of fat in healthy people rather than in those with chronic disease. At present, the low-fat dietary pattern in Japan appears to be a healthy way of eating.