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Are we the only animal that eats a high fat diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 25, 2011 at 11:44 PM

"You should make a video about how we are the only animal that eats a high fat diet and that even carnivores don't consume a lot of fat since their intestines are short and it passes through them fast enough before the fat in meat gets absorbed."

I came across this quote. Maybe someone here knows this topic and can correct this statement.

C3b3978a3f2abc1a1a72bb32b09eb92a

(33)

on October 28, 2011
at 09:51 PM

so do humans do the same if they eat plants? Do the body convert the plants in short-chain fat?

C3b3978a3f2abc1a1a72bb32b09eb92a

(33)

on October 28, 2011
at 09:49 PM

i love your answer*

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 26, 2011
at 12:28 AM

This is exactly what I was going to reference.

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7 Answers

best answer

10
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on October 26, 2011
at 05:15 AM

Bears and eagles target the highest fat content parts of salmon; brains, eggs, and skin when food is abundant. Polar bears will eat the skin and blubber of a seal first and may abandon the rest of the carcass if food is not scarce. Cougars while generally known for eating large ungulates also eat beaver and porcupine which both have high fat reserves. I'm pretty sure I've even seen white sharks stripping blubber from whale carcasses. Even chimpanzees have been known to eat monkey brains as a source of fat. Apparently racoons and weasels will also eat the brains of rabbits, chickens and mice while leaving the rest untouched.

The purpose of a short gut in carnivores is likely to enable rapid digestion allowing them to feed again sooner so as to make the most of a large kill. This is obviously a survival mechanism to allow gorging when food is plentiful. It seems highly unlikely that that animals would not evolve to be able to use the most calorically dense part of their food.

best answer

8
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on October 26, 2011
at 05:31 AM

Carnivores have short large intestines because the large intestine is essentially a fermenting chamber full of bacteria that digests fibrous matter. They don't eat plants so their need for a long large intestine is small. The place of fat digestion is the small intestine (for most dietary fats), not the large intestine, so having a short large intestine is not problematic to fat digestion.

9
A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on October 25, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Perfect Health Diet has a lot to say about this. Check it out for a great explanation, but I'll try to paraphrase:

Herbivores' gut bacteria ferment the fiber in vegetables into short-chain fats, so the majority of their calories come from fat. Can't comment on your quote, but carnivores tend to go for organs and fat before muscle meat. Long and short of it, most animals get the majority of their calories from fat.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 26, 2011
at 12:28 AM

This is exactly what I was going to reference.

C3b3978a3f2abc1a1a72bb32b09eb92a

(33)

on October 28, 2011
at 09:51 PM

so do humans do the same if they eat plants? Do the body convert the plants in short-chain fat?

3
E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on October 26, 2011
at 09:51 PM

Don't forget zombies. They go for the brains and organs first too ;-)

C3b3978a3f2abc1a1a72bb32b09eb92a

(33)

on October 28, 2011
at 09:49 PM

i love your answer*

3
Medium avatar

(19479)

on October 26, 2011
at 05:56 PM

We are most definitely NOT the only animal that eats a high fat diet.

Hyenas have some of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom so that they can crack open bones for the marrow.

Carnivores typically "eat the guts out" before going for "lean" meat (if they even bother with the "lean" at all.)

And even herbivorous primates such as the gorilla derive the vast majority of their calories from fat, the only difference being that the fat is produced by bacteria in their digestive "barrel" rather than sourced directly from their food.

"This is also the case for herbivorous primates such as the gorilla. Even thought they eat a "plant based" diet, their gut bacteria turn it into short-chain fatty acids... The mean macronutrient can be broke down as fat=.05+.4, protein=11.8+8.2, available carbohydrate=7.7+6.3 and dietary fiber=74.0+12.9. Otherwise, 25% of energy as fat, 24.3% is protein, 15.8 % available carbohydrate, with potentially 57.3 % of metabolized energy from short-chained fatty acids derived from the colon fermentation of fiber (Popovich, etal, 1997)."

1
26e2364f7966432bbf8acfe930583674

(460)

on October 26, 2011
at 09:40 PM

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on October 26, 2011
at 03:54 PM

Generally larger prey animals have more body fat the larger they are. So the larger the predator, the more large prey it eats, the fattier the diet. Humans are fairly skilled at bringing down large prey.

I feed my dogs and cats raw, have for many years. The cats I keep fairly low fat - small prey (I buy mice, rats, rabbits etc, all are naturally low fat) usually, leaner cuts or small portions from fattier animals. They gain fat easily from more high-fat/high-cal foods, also my younger cat has had several episodes of pancreatitis following a very high fat meal so now I limit him strictly. My dogs I feed mostly larger prey, they have no problem eating large amounts of fat (occasionally) and their weight doesn't vary as much.

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