What does our second expert have to say about dietary oils?

Part 2 of the Experts and Oils Series
See Part 1 – Dr. Neal Barnard

MD: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
BS: Unknown. I think it was University of Pennsylvania

Board-certified family physician and nutritional researcher
Dr. Fuhrman is no longer a practicing physician. He closed his practice in 2021.

Dr. Fuhrman is a New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing. He specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman is the president of the Nutritional Research Foundation, and he’s a faculty member at Northern Arizona University, in the Health Sciences division.

Dr. Furhman doesn’t explicitly identify as a vegan, but he advocates for a predominantly plant-based diet and promotes the importance of consuming nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. Dr. Fuhrman’s position is that we should consume no oils at all and instead get our fats from plants only, especially nuts and seeds. He believes our diet should consist of less than 10% of calories from vegetable oils (and poultry, eggs, fish, dairy and white potatoes).

Not a fan.

Dr. Fuhrman discourages the use of vegetable/seed oils. He argues that although vegetable oils are relatively low in saturated fat and higher in unsaturated fats, still “we should consume these processed foods minimally or not at all.” He asserts that oils are devoid of the nutrients found in whole nuts and seeds, stating, “Nuts and seeds contain fiber, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals in addition to healthy fats that contribute to cardiovascular health and that most of these nutrients are missing in refined oils.”

Dr. Furhman has stated “All oils promote weight gain. Oil is not a whole food—it is a fattening, low-nutrient, processed food, consisting of 100% fat. When fats are ingested in the form of extracted oils, they are rapidly and efficiently absorbed by the body and immediately converted into body fat. If these fats were instead ingested from whole foods, such as seeds, nuts and avocado, their absorption would be much slower, over hours, not minutes and these fats would be mostly burned for our energy needs and not stored.”

No.

Dr. Fuhrman takes a strong position on tropical oils as well: “All tropical oils (palm and coconut) are highly saturated fats. Like butter, cheese, and meat, tropical oils raise LDL cholesterol and clog arteries with plaque, increasing your risk of a heart attack.”

Dr. Furhman has pointed to research that shows that Polynesian diets, high in tropical oils, are linked with relatively low levels of heart disease, but he points to the population’s high consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish and their low consumption of cheese and beef as contributors to their low rates of heart disease. He says, “to attribute the benefit to consuming coconut oil is very deceptive and a clear marketing ploy.”

Dr. Fuhrman has a large social media presence. A quick Google search will uncover details about Dr. Fuhrman, his influence and his opinions. Find him if you want to learn more about his stance on dietary oils and other nutrition topics.


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