How fat babies develop healthy adult brains

What’s not to love about a fat baby? Bouncy, bonny babies are adorable. But that little cherub wasn’t born chubby simply to trigger the bonding process. Without that full-body cushion of subcutaneous fat, the risk of damage to the rapidly developing brain would be severe.1The fat-free option is a high-risk strategy, from infancy to old age.


Humans are the only land mammals born fat. Even our closest relative, the chimpanzee, arrives in the world with barely any body fat. But then, no other land mammal has a brain so highly evolved that it must come equipped with its own fuel supply.2


There is only one reliable and complete source of that valuable fat, and that is animal-based food. When early humans made the switch from a tree-dwelling, plant-eating existence, to a land-based, omnivorous lifestyle, an extraordinary burst of brain growth was triggered. The human brain was to triple in size over a period of 2.6 million years, and it did so on a diet of meat and fish.


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