A wave of lipophobia

Francesco Visioli

For some time now popular magazines seem to be swept over by a wave of “lipophobia”. All diets followed for either health reasons or to achieve weight loss, dictate that we should limit fat consumption as much as possible. There is no doubt that most Western dietary patterns are too rich. But we must remember that not all fats are the same! Firstly, we should distinguish between visible and non-visible fats.

The former ones include dressings, namely fats (or better, oils) that we add to food to improve taste and palatability. Invisible fats on the other hand, so called because they are not visible to the naked eye, are those present in food in small amounts.
While it is fairly easy to quantify the amount of oil added to a salad and therefore calculate what is consumed, it is much harder to know how much fat there is in a chop, a slice of salami or a sea bass.

By paying greater attention to our diet, we can achieve a better balance of its fat contents. Another important distinction we should bear in mind is that between animal fats (or more precisely, those derived from ruminants) and vegetable oils. While all dieticians agree that the former fats should be reduced, but not eliminated from our diet, we can consume the latter ones with greater freedom.

Setting aside the overall calorie count, it should be noted that, as far as visible fats are concerned, extra virgin olive oils, and select ones in particular, differ from all other fats. Even without taking its health properties into account, olive oil is strongly linked with a dietary culture generally associated with better health and longer life expectancy.

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