Fat-Free health trend

Illustration: David Wyffels

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Fat-Free Everything

The Idea: Low-fat and fat-free foods ruled the day in the late '80s and early '90s. Food manufacturers removed fat from seemingly every product they could think of and we all feasted on carbs without a care in the world (they were the base of the Food Pyramid at that time, after all).

The Problem: In order to remove fat without removing all of the flavor, brands added sugar—and a lot of it. Even healthy fats were demonized, grouped with less-healthy version at the very top of the Food Pyramid. "I would eat a 5-pound bag of Halloween candy because it was fat-free, but I wouldn't touch an avocado," admits Scritchfield. But ditching fat didn't do too much for our health. A large study in JAMA found that following a low-fat diet didn't lower the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in postmenopausal women.

The Lesson: A healthy diet includes healthy fats, and a cap on added sugar.