What longtime nutrition expert Walter Willett still wants to know

Known as the world’s most-cited nutrition researcher, Walter Willett has shed light on the potential risk of disease from consuming too much trans fats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat. He spoke to Landscape News for a September 17, 2019 story about his three decades of groundbreaking work—and the questions he still wants to answer.

Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who co-authored the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems report earlier this year, said that he is working with colleagues in the earth sciences to further understand the ways that dietary choices can affect greenhouse gas production and climate change. Another pressing issue, he said, is understanding the ways in which diet affects health late in life.

“One enigma is that being lean as a child is a strong risk factor for breast cancer for the rest of a woman’s life, and we don’t know why,” he said. “And at the other end, we still need to understand more about how diet can help preserve cognitive function.”

Read the Landscape News article: Thought for food: Walter Willett on diet for personal and planetary health

Learn more

Walter Willett and the science of eating well (Harvard Chan School news)