What is a Fat-Free Vegan?

What is a Fat-Free Vegan?

Brown Flax Seeds

Note:  I no longer follow this way of eating (2/5/2015).


You are probably wondering, what in the world is Evelyn talking about. And you are probably thinking, everyone needs fat.

Some people might think that vegans are already not meeting their nutritional requirements, so why remove the fat (oil) from the diet?

A few months ago, someone ask me if I used coconut oil? My reply was, yes. But the person told me that they thought that vegans did not use any oil. I didn’t give it much thought because I know that some people who eat a vegan or plant-based diet, use oils.

Before doing my 7-day water fast, I was using very little oil. I wasn’t avoiding oils on purpose, I just did not feel I needed a lot of oil in my diet. The oil that I used the most was coconut oil and I also took an omega-3 fatty acid blend.

I am currently re-reading Dr. Joel Furhman’s book, Eat to Live and he does not recommend any refined oils, especially if you are trying to lose weight. But he does have a section in his book that allows for olive oil (small amounts), for those who are on a moderate weight loss plan.

Dr. Furhman explains in great detail why we do not need the extra fat (oil) in our diet. The first time I read, Eat to Live, I did not get it. I could not understand why anyone would want to exclude oils, but today, I understand everything better.

The Fat (Oil)-Free Vegan

A fat (oil)-free vegan is one who does not consume any refined oils or fats. A few examples of refined oils include: olive, coconut, and sesame, etc.

If the fat (oil)-free vegan is not using olive or coconut oil, then how are they getting the fat they need? Dr. Furhman says , “Get your fats as nature packaged them. It is best to consume the little fats we need in their original unprocessed, unheated, and natural packages: whole food (Eat to Live, p. 130).”

You probably think the fat-free vegan is completely fat-free, well that is just not the case.

Dr. Furhman says, “It would be nearly impossible to make this diet fat-deficient, because even green vegetables and beans contain beneficial fats. The focus should be on reducing (or removing) the harmful and processed fats, and instead consuming the healthy fats that are naturally contained in whole natural foods. Non-processed fats contained in avocados, sunflower seeds, and almonds to name just a couple of sources, can be healthy additions to a wholesome diet of natural foods (Eat to Live, p. 131).”

Dr. Furhman’s conclusion about fats:

1. Any extracted oil (fat) can promote cancer because consuming even the healthiest fats, such as olive oil, in excess adds too many empty calories.

2. Excess omega-6 fatty acids promote cancer risk, while omega-3 fats, which are harder to come by, tend to lower risk.

3. The most dangerous fats for both heart disease and cancer are saturated fats and trans fatty acids.

4. Whole natural plant foods (whole grains, greens, nuts and seeds) supply adequate fat (Eat to Live, p. 135).

What about the Omega-3 Fats?

Consume 1-2 grams of omega-3 fat daily (Eat to Live, p. 123). Here are some examples of omega-3 fat sources:

  • Flaxseed (ground)
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans (green, frozen, or raw)
  • Tofu
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds

Is Eating Fat (Oil)-Free Possible?

Yes, it is possible. I know it is possible, because I am doing it. Since I was doing very little refined oils anyway, I figured that I would give Dr. Furhman’s recommendations a try. So far so good!


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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

8 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Aqiyl Henry says:

    It is not a back thing to exclude oils from the diet, but having certain oils in the diet is not necessarily bad either.
    First the notion that saturated oils are bad for us in being debunked. Much of the literature citing saturated as being bad occurred once trans fats were introduced into our diets and this is when heart disease and inflammation skyrocketed.
    Coconut oil is a staple of my diet and I use it for quick energy because its medium chain triglycerides are quickly converted into energy, plus it has great antiviral properties.
    You do have to use other oils in moderation because of their higher omega-6 content.
    We can’t be fat free because vegetation contains fat, as in nuts, and even with these, because some nuts have a higher omega-6 content, you should eat the in moderation or not eat them at all, peanuts.
    I eat a high fat, high carb, low protein diet and I am in very good health. As far as the concern with fats and carbs and cholesterol, my cholesterol is very low at 113.
    The body needs fats, but also needs the right fats. Transfats are killers, which you will find in many if not most processed foods. The body needs omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ration of 3 to 1 for healthy organ and brain functioning. I hope you don’t mind me linking to omega-6 and omega-3 articles.

    • Hi Aqiyl,

      The saturated oils that Dr. Furhman refers to in his book are oils from animal sources. He does not knock oils all together, because he does mention using olive oil in small amounts, if a person needs to and he also talks about fish in his book.

      I used the term fat, probably should have used oil-free, but to me they are the same. I am doing my best to avoid oils that are processed and that come in a bottle. My goal is to get what I need from my food, which I think can be done, with the proper planning and to eat as close to a whole-food diet as I can. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m willing to give it a try. I’ll see how this all turns out and share my results in a future post.

      I don’t mind the links, because I only allow 2 links. Thanks for sharing and chiming in!

      Take care,


  2. Great article, Evelyn. Like you, I need to reread it. The points make very good sense to me and especially since you are eliminating oils. My coconut oil is organic, unrefined, and cold pressed. So I will do my due diligence and let you know. Thanks so much for this information. 🙂

    • Hey Ms. Carolyn,


      Coconut oil is my favorite. It is something I’m working on, but I’ll see how it turns out and keep you posted too.

      Glad you stopped by.