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Fat Is Important for Our Health but It Must Be the Right Kind

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

what fats should we eat or avoid

Story at-a-glance -

  • Humans store fat for evolutionary reasons that have helped us survive as a species
  • Instead of representing a lack of will power, obesity tends to result from the unique ways humans have evolved
  • Processed fats from cheap vegetable oils should be avoided to stay healthy yet 95 percent of restaurants use them in preparing food
  • Unlike marine-based omega-3 fats, processed omega-6 oils found in vegetable oils are damaging to the human body yet top medical organizations promote them
  • While once thought mostly inert, fat cells affect major body systems, from the brain and heart to sexual function and insulin resistance
  • Cheap, processed food containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils is responsible for much of the damaging oils that are found in people's bodies today

Most people realize Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most influential artists of baroque tradition. Yet when they look at his paintings of unclothed women they are likely to see "fat." Fat bodies have become so associated with lack of health and lack of self-control that the myths have become separated from the truth. Let's make an effort to separate them.

First, dietary fat serves many important functions and is good for the body when the right fat is consumed. Secondly, having excessive adipose tissue — body fat — does not denote that a person lacks self-control or will power, but is the result of an inappropriate diet. Homo sapiens evolved with a "famine reflex" that caused metabolic changes to conserve fat and ensured survival when food was scarce.

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