Dietary choices are strongly influenced by the taste and texture of foods. Fats are responsible for the sensory properties of many foods and greatly contribute to eating pleasure. Although diets rich in fats tend to be more flavorful and varied, they also are high in energy. Because excessive fat consumption has been associated with higher rates of obesity and coronary heart disease, nutrition education efforts have focused on replacing dietary fats with grains, vegetables, and fruit. However, preference for high-fat foods appear to be a universal human trait, and in the absence of efficient physiologic mechanisms regulating fat intake, fat consumption appears to be determined simply by the amount of fat available in the food supply. Fat consumption at national levels is determined largely by economic variables such as urbanization or income. The question is whether these barriers can be surmounted by appropriate nutrition education and intervention programs.