In the wake of years of low-fat and non-fat diet news and advertising, we're living in a culture that has oversimplified the complex equations of nutrition into fat=bad. As Harriet Brown writes for Psychology today:
Be honest: Have you ever thought, as you forked a bite of cheesecake into your mouth, "I might be killing myself with this"? Have you ever referred to a cheeseburger as a heart attack on a plate?
Who among us has not? But, as Brown points out, the body actually needs fat.
…Neural cell membranes are made from fat, and a healthy, functioning brain requires fat. That the rest of the body needs fat, too, from the endocrine system to, yes, the cardiovascular system.
Unfortunately, we're brainwashed into thinking about fat a certain way, often with terribly detrimental results. Brown writes specifically about a mom who called regarding her daughter, who's being treated for anorexia. The mother was looking for recipes to help her eating disordered daughter gain weight, and found them all "nauseating."
I wanted to tell that mom, Relax, a little fat won't kill you, and it may save your daughter's life. But I know she won't believe me. I know she hears the opposite message from so many sources and in so many ways that my voice alone won't persuade her. I just want her, and all the mothers and fathers out there, to think before they badmouth fat, especially around their children. Because the truth is much more complex than fat = death, especially for those with eating disorders.
Fatphobia causes all kinds of anxiety in this country, despite the fact that our physical appearance often has very little do to with what we eat. Think of Don Gorske, the man who ate a Big Mac every day for years and remained 6 foot 2 inches tall, 185 pounds, with a cholesterol level of 140. How long will it take for us to realize that fat does not equal death? And to accept that eating fat does not equal being obese?
On the "demon" fat, and why we all need to make peace with it [Psychology Today]