Of course, you can't pig out on high-fat foods all day every day and expect to stay slim and healthy. But for far too long, guys took low-fat to an unhealthy extreme. That's because back in the 1980s and '90s, doctors were telling patients to stop eating steak, eggs, cheese, and butter and slather everything with margarine instead. They thought that fat—especially saturated fat found in animal-based products—clogged arteries and caused heart attacks. Trans fat, the synthetic garbage found in margarine, baked goods, and fried foods, was somehow considered healthier. But the best option, doctors said, was to consume very little fat at all. As a result, pasta and bagels were dubbed "health foods," and you could find low-fat versions of just about anything: ice cream, cookies, even cheddar bratwurst (true story).
But what low-fat processed foods lack in fat, they make up for double-time in empty carbohydrates and added sugars, which — as we know now — is what packs on the pounds. "As a dietitian, I lived through the low-fat craze," Mangieri says. "Everyone was paying so much attention to fats and began eating as many carbs as they wanted. That was never the diet's intent."
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