For years we were told to cut down on butter and full cream milk... then experts said they were healthy.
Now, to add to the confusion, the World Health Organisation has weighed in with its own advice for the first time.
And their tip? To strictly limit the amount of butter and milk we use to maintain a healthy heart.
It is urging both adults and children to keep their saturated fat intake to 10 % of their daily calories.
Dr Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development said: ‘Dietary saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids are of particular concern because high levels of intake are correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.So we are talking about 250 calories coming from saturated fat and that is approximately a bit less than 30 grams of saturated fat.’
The advice urges adults to switch to olive oil or margarine and replace fat with wholegrain carbohydrates.
The new recommended limit is equivalent to five small portions of butter, a large bar of dark chocolate or six slices of cheese. However the advice flies in the face of several recent studies. Last August, Canadian research published in the Lancet suggested that avoiding dairy products increased the risk of heart disease. And senior cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, based at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has published several papers claiming butter is healthy.
However some experts claim too much saturated fat raises the levels of bad cholesterol which causes arteries to become clogged, triggering heart attacks and strokes. An average man in the UK consumes 13 % of his daily calorie intake as saturated fat, rising to 13.5 % for a typical woman.
Heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK and responsible for 160,000 deaths each year.