Mention was made the other day in a class I was teaching about the delights of a specific brand of fat-free cookies. “Have you had them?” one of the students asked me. To me that was like asking if I’d had any fried grasshoppers lately — culturally absurd. “Of course not,” I said, “I wouldn’t touch that stuff for the world.” She looked at me puzzled. “But they’re so good!” I realized how far removed I am from the mainstream, how out of touch with what goes on in the lives of most Americans. Unfortunately, there is little that I can do about it. I keep noticing absurdities and irrelevancies around the issues of food and health, and then I have to point them out. Fortunately, a few people are listening. So let me handle here the issue of “fat free food,” which I believe can be dangerous.
The hysteria against fat has gone out of control. While it is true that excess fat can stress the liver and contribute to health problems, what is overlooked in this issue are two points: a) fat is one of the three essential macro nutrients; and b) some fats are health-promoting, others are unhealthful.