Time to stop talking about low-fat, say HSPH nutrition experts

It is time to end the low-fat myth, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) nutrition experts told food industry leaders at the seventh annual World of Healthy Flavors Conference held in Napa, CA, from January 19 to 21, 2011. The conference, co-hosted by the Culinary Institute of America and HSPH, brings together nutrition researchers with representatives from schools, supermarkets, and food industry goliaths such as Burger King, The Olive Garden, and Panera Bread to share strategies for offering Americans healthier menu options.

HSPH nutrition department chair Walter Willett and associate professor of epidemiology Dariush Mozaffarian, along with Ron Krauss of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, presented on the “Focus on Fat” panel. They encouraged audience members to avoid “low-fat” terminology and thinking, since diets low in fat are often high in sodium and carbohydrates from sources such as white flour and rice, refined snacks, and sugary drinks. Instead, the panelists said, chefs should focus on cutting trans fats from their menus and educating consumers about seeking out healthy fats.

Willett chairs the World of Healthy Flavors Scientific Advisory Committee, which also includes HSPH colleagues Frank Hu, Frank Sacks, and Eric Rimm. Hu, Rimm, David Ludwig and Nutrition Source editorial director Lilian Cheung also presented at the 2011 conference.

Read coverage of the conference (ZesterDaily)

Learn more

Principles of Healthy Menu R&D: A Focus on Fat (presentation from World of Healthy Flavors conference)

World of Healthy Flavors 2011 conference website

The Nutrition Source