March 2011 Issue

The Great Fat Debate Continues

"Eat a low-fat diet." That was the public health message 30 years agoówhich turned out to be dead wrong and set off a national fat phobia. Some of the countryís leading nutrition experts discussed this decades-old debate about optimal fat intake at the American Dietetic Associationís Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo on November 8, 2010. Walter Willet, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, reported at the conference, "Data in the 1980s found that total fat and coronary heart disease had no co-relationship; it was the type of fatónot total fatóin the diet that was important." At that time, research didnít link low-fat diets with energy balance and a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes or breast and colon cancer, either. But that didnít stop health experts from promoting low-fat diets for all.

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