Healthy fats key to good diet

Eating butter occasionally is okay, but there are healthier fats that are better options for maintaining long-term health, according to nutrition expert Walter Willett.

Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, addressed ongoing confusion about butter in a February 7, 2017 MedPage Today video interview.

Noting that a prominent meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014 seemed to conclude that the type of fat in the diet didn’t make any difference with regard to heart disease, Willett said there were flaws in the study.

“They actually couldn’t do the right analysis because they were trying to summarize papers in which the comparison for saturated fat wasn’t specified,” Willett told MedPage Today. “It’s really important whether you’re comparing saturated fat with starch or with trans fat or with healthy plant oils that are mostly unsaturated.” Many other studies have suggested that the type of fat in the diet is extremely important, and that replacing trans fat and saturated fat with unsaturated plant oils can have major health benefits, Willett said.

“Making healthy types of fat in the diet a priority is one of the most important things people can do about their long-term health and well-being,” he said.

Watch the MedPage Today video interview with Walter Willett: Pearls From: Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH – Setting the record straight on the great butter debate

Learn more

Is Butter Really Back? (Harvard Public Health magazine)

We Repeat: Butter is Not Back. (The Nutrition Source)

Butter is not back: Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health (Harvard Chan School release)