For years, we’ve been hearing that a low-fat diet is the way to stay healthy. Avoid the fat and you’ll lose weight and keep your heart healthy, right? Well, no. The idea of the low-fat diet was first proposed in the late 1970’s, and was supported by zero scientific studies. Unfortunately, Americans were subjected to a large, uncontrolled experiment in low-fat diets, and have suffered as a result. Business Insider has a great article discussing the myths about fat, and I decided to share the ones that I thought were most pernicious.

1. Cholesterol-Rich Foods Are NOT Bad for You

Do you remember the egg scare of the late 80’s and early 90’s?  Eggs raise cholesterol! Eggs are terrible for you! If you must eat eggs, only eat the whites! What a load of baloney. The incredible edible egg is full of nutrients and protein, and has actually been shown to raise HDL, your “good” cholesterol. Plus, they’re delicious!

2. Processed Seed and Vegetable Oils Are NOT Good For You

Soybean, cottonseed, and corn oils have been considered “health” foods and are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, all three are high in polyunsaturated fats, which are harmful in excess and can contribute to inflammation.

3. Saturated Fat Is Not The “Big Bad”

Saturated fat gets a bad rap. It’s blamed for everything from raising cholesterol to causing heart disease. However, scientists are discovering that saturated fat actually increases the size of the lipids in LDL, making your LDL more benign than the small and densely packed lipids that are normal. Also, there is absolutely no proof that it causes heart disease.

4. Saturated Fats and Trans Fats Are Not The Same 

They get lumped together, but are completely different things. Saturated fats are naturally occurring. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to have a longer shelf life. Not only is the process disgusting, but it results in a highly toxic substance that can cause insulin resistance and inflammation. Yet it’s supposed to be better for us?

5. Butter Truly Is Better Than Margarine

Wave around your “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” all you like, but butter is actually better for you than margarine. Compared to butter, margarine is associated with higher risks of heart disease. Plus, it contains large amounts of processed vegetable oils and trans fats, which we already know aren’t great. High-fat dairy products are actually associated with a lower risk of obesity, so…

Learn the facts about fat! Don’t let bad science and pop culture scare you away from foods that humans have been consuming for centuries.

Image Credit:  Justus Blumer