This article is from the Fat-free Diet FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Michelle Dick) with numerous contributions by others.
Early in 1993, I created the FATFREE Vegetarian Mailing List for
discussion of very low fat vegetarianism. The list's focus was and
is vegetarian diets with approximately 5-15%CFF, not low fat diets
of 15-30%CFF. The list became very popular very quickly and many
on the list wanted a usenet forum to discuss the topic as well as
space to discuss non-vegetarian vlf foods. Thus, a member of the
FATFREE Mailing List created alt.food.fat-free. The charter
message indicated that the group was for discussion of diets
similar to the FATFREE Mailing List without a restrition to
vegetarian foods. Because of the similarity of the topic and
because the creator also wanted to stress that the group was for
discussion of *very* low fat diets, the name "fat-free" was carried
over (despite the fact that this a misnomer as there are no truly
fat free nutritious foods or diets).