START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Does Fat Make Us Fat?

  • 1 of 2
Does Fat Make Us Fat?

By Michelle Pfennighaus, DivineCaroline

Imagine it. You’re watching Friends on prime time and wearing Doc Martins, Snapple iced tea in hand. In front of you is a box of fat free Snackwell’s cookies. Ah, the nineties. It made perfect sense. We were all going to get fat unless we stopped eating foods that contained fat! Perfect logic.

The fat free craze didn’t begin in the nineties though. For decades, scientists were warning of the dangers of fats. Saturated fat was deemed a killer, clogging the arteries, and causing our pants to get tighter.

Never mind that for thousands of years indigenous cultures ate animal fat at nearly every meal and only in recent times had obesity become a problem and heart disease become a number one killer. So, we ate less fat. I did, anyway. Snackwell’s cookies were super, right? Eat all you want—zero fat. The food industry had a field day, manipulating processed foods until they were marketable as “Low” or “No Fat.” And we bought them at a premium! We declared with glee, “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter!” The century ended full of hope for trim waistlines and healthy hearts.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happened.

It didn’t work. We are fatter and sicker than ever before. Many of us (myself included) ended up with dry skin, constipation, and a cold feeling in our bones. Our bodies’ need for fat manifested itself in magnificent cravings we satisfied at 3 a.m. with French fries and Ben & Jerry’s.

Hey Science, what gives?

Here’s what happened. We replaced fats that were maybe unhealthy with darn near fatal fats (think hydrogenated trans fat in margarine) and plenty of sugar, fillers, and chemicals. What brilliant ideas will we think of next?

I’d like to stop thinking of what’s next and reflect for a moment on what has come before. For thousands of years, populations around the world have thrived on indigenous diets of all sorts. Meat-based, plant-based, or a combination of the two, they all included fat. It was not until processed food was introduced that we encountered the diseases of excess that plague us today.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love


At, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at


+ add your own
12:30AM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

Saved and emailed to save.

12:28AM PDT on Oct 23, 2011

"It has been an interesting shift to start eating fats again. After years of a “No Fat” mindset, it feels naughty to throw a pat of butter into my oatmeal. But good quality organic butter from grass-fed cows is exactly the kind of fat the body needs."

Read more:

Good! That is what seems to work -- quality certified organic foods -- including the fats -- and only the healthy ones.

11:22AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

I totally agree with Diane K - Eat REAL food in moderation.

9:28AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

Very interesting.

2:30AM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Well, no fat makes you constipated. You NEED at least SOME to keep your intestines lubed.

But anyway, you have to be careful, because with "fake fat", there are so many chemicals that it causes a different problem. You should have stuck to the natural stuff and just use a little less of it is all.

Other items that say low fat may "recover" the taste by adding sugars, syrups, MSG, and other things that are just as bad or worse.

It's about the moderation. If you're eating your veggies, you can take more "fat". Just remember, an apple a day is good for you. Eat the bushel, you have ickies.

Can someone pass me the avocados? Those things are delicious.

9:17PM PDT on Apr 9, 2010

The key is to eat more natural food - it's processed food that is killing us. Fat has gotten a bad rap. We all need to eat healthy fats (eg. olive oil, avacado) to survive. The government and medical industry has done a poor job of educating people on the difference between good and bad fats.

10:54AM PDT on Apr 8, 2010

Fat is bad. Even if there's good fat. Even healthy food can make peope fat those who have the gene.

1:29PM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

Very good article, thanks for sharing, but could you explain why we should stear clear of •soy, corn, peanut, canola and grapeseed oils?? I thought that soy, canola and grapeseed were considered healthy!!

9:25AM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

I read that Ghee (almost same as clarified butter) is maybe one of the best to cook with along with Olive oil

4:35AM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

Fat is the common problem people are facing these days because of their diet they take which is full or fat. calories and carbohydrates. Fat contented food definitely makes people fat and thus there are many surgeries underwent by people through expert surgeons to get rid of their excessive fat.

bariatric surgery California

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I'm the same as Barbara P, my plants thrive too, I do tell them they look beautiful, maybe that hel…

Not all of this is true. You are assuming all avocados come from Mexico and that is not the case. A…

I forgot to start by saying this is a valuable article that I will save. Thank you!


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!