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Can a human survive on a diet without fat?

  1. Aug 12, 2009 #1
    Remove all of the fat you would normally ingest - would you be able to live for long?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2009 #2
    I ate a zero fat diet for almost a month once. Surprisingly enough, I don't remember loosing any weight (fatness) and I remember feeling really tired all the time.
  4. Aug 12, 2009 #3
    Maybe you felt tired because fats are what the body uses to store energy, so you had no energy storage, and instead your body had to be constantly producing fat from what you did eat. But that's not a professional opinion :)
  5. Aug 12, 2009 #4
    depends. how fat are you now? you can live on your reserves for a good long time.

    and despite lipogenesis, there are still fatty acids that are considered essential, like the omega-3's. women are somewhat better at producing omega-3 than men, but even there, i'm not sure how good they would be at it with zero fat in the diet (don't remember the fatty acid it was made from).

    unfortunately, tho, there seems to be more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation" [Broken] on the subject than real data, but i don't think i'd try it for an extended period. seems like a really bad idea.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Aug 12, 2009 #5
    Some of the omega 3's and 6's cannot be made by the body, and thus are essential fatty acids. Most people get more than enough omega-6's, but not enough of the omega-3's. There is also some research which suggests having too much omega-6 without omega-3 can cause some problems.

    "Essential fatty acids play an important role in the life and death of cardiac cells." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acids
  7. Aug 12, 2009 #6
    I am not very well versed in this, but I know that there are some "essential" amino acids, id est, amino acids that the human body cannot manufacture. If you stop ingesting these essential amino acids, eventually your body will have a shortage and start experiencing the symptoms of certain rare syndromes. These diseases are generally most common among malnourished populations in the developing world and vegans in the west, as animal protein contains all the essential amino acids.

    I am unsure if there are essential lipids, but assuming that there are, one is likely to experience similar symptoms. It would not harm you right away, but eventually you would become ill.
  8. Aug 12, 2009 #7
    I should probably add that, as far as I know, no food contains 0 fat. All cells should have some kind of lipid in them, unless some kind of processing has been used to totally remove it, although statistically speaking, the usable fat content might be 0%.
  9. Aug 12, 2009 #8
    Yes you're right, the research says that without the essential fatty acids, that happens to you.
  10. Aug 12, 2009 #9
    Why would you want a 0 fat diet when 2/3 of your brain is made from fats?

    http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/fats.html#fatsbuild [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Aug 13, 2009 #10


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    My doctor said fat is essential and told me I wasn't getting enough.
  12. Aug 13, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    My doctor told me to eat more nachos. [That's my story and I'm sticking to it, esp if Tsu asks]
  13. Aug 13, 2009 #12
    Oh Yeah! I've heard nachos are really nutritious. Lots of vitamin C in those jalapenos you know.

  14. Aug 13, 2009 #13


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    You need fat. It is the component of a plasma membrane and all your hormones, and some fatty acids even inhibit cancer. Simply put, without fat you will die. Without derivatives from these fats you will bleed out, go into cardiac arrest, or any number of hundreds of ways to die.

    I should start selling t-shirts "Save an Olsen Twin! Give her a burger" with a giant cheeseburger picture with dripping water from the lettuce.. mmmm

    I think if you trying to lose weight you should cut back on carbohydrates, but not the fats.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  15. Aug 13, 2009 #14


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    Are you asking to lose weight?
  16. Aug 13, 2009 #15
    i understood the question to be whether fat is essential in the diet. and it is. however, i suspect you would actually live for a long time if you, as an adult, cut out all fat but kept calories the same. you just wouldn't be very healthy or live nearly as long as a person with fat in their diet.
  17. Aug 14, 2009 #16
    That would be funny!
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