Lipophobicity, also referred to as Lipophobia, is the irrational fear and avoidance of fats in food. In recent decades, fat has become central to discourses in health and nutrition across particular parts of the world, most notably the US and areas throughout Europe. The surge in obesity, combined with an emphasis on dieting and fitness, has been linked to an increasing fear of fat and a dominant narrative that bestows the word with a plethora of negative connotations.

Most often, is more pronounced in women than in men and individuals who suffer from this extreme anxiety disorder fear that eating foods with fat will make them gain weight; will avoid eating foods that contain butter and/or oils; or will only buy and consume foods that are low in fat.

Causes of Lipophobicity

Researchers have offered a variety of explanations for the recent surge in Lipophobicity across much of the world. The most common explanation for this type of phobia is linked to Western society’s belief that the ideal body image is one that is thin, and attainment of this ideal has been linked with limiting fat intake, or avoiding it altogether.

Researchers have also suggested that the onset of the “national eating disorder” of Lipophobicity in the United States dates back to 1977 when the nutritional guidelines titled Dietary Goals for the United States were announced by the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs and limiting red meat was recommended.

Symptoms of Lipophobicity

  • Obsession with calories and fat content of foods
  • Only eating foods that are low in fat
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Preoccupied thoughts of food and weight
  • Trimming all the fat off of meat before eating it

Treatment of Lipophobicity

The most common way to treat Lipophobicity is the same way one would treat eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The good news is that the eating disorder behaviors you’ve learned can be unlearned if you’re motivated to change and willing to ask for help. However, overcoming an eating disorder is about more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviors. It is also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image.

The first step in the road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Once you have come to terms with the severity of your problem, it is important that you seek out the care of an experienced healthcare professional such as a psychiatric counselor to speak with on a weekly basis in order to address the root causes of the problem and assist you with your difficulty coping with stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and other uncomfortable emotions. A nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders can also help patients configure a healthy meal plan.

View Resources

  • Help Guide – this link provided information on types of treatment for eating disorders
  • Mayo Clinic – this link provided information on symptoms
  • Skin Beauty HQ – this link provided information about the background of Lipo

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