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Old 02-09-2006, 07:35 AM   #1
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Study: Low-Fat Diets Don't Cut Health Risks

Not sure if FYM is really the place for this, but I'm in a posting mood...so....
Quote:
Chances a low-fat diet will help? Slim and none

By Gina Kolata
The New York Times
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2006


NEW YORK-- The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet has no effect.

The $415 million federal study involved nearly 49,000 women aged 50 to 79 who were followed for eight years. In the end, those assigned to a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and strokes as those who ate whatever they pleased, researchers reported Wednesday.

"These studies are revolutionary," said Dr. Jules Hirsch, physician in chief emeritus at Rockefeller University in New York City, who has spent a lifetime studying the effects of diets on weight and health. "They should put a stop to this era of thinking that we have all the information we need to change the whole national diet and make everybody healthy."

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday, was not just an ordinary study, said Dr. Michael Thun, who directs epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society. It was so large and so expensive, Thun said, that it was "the Rolls-Royce of studies." As such, he added, it is likely to be the final word. "We usually have only one shot at a very large-scale trial on a particular issue," he said.

The study was part of the Women's Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the program that showed that hormone therapy after menopause might have more risks than benefits.

The results, the study investigators agreed, do not justify recommending low-fat diets to the public to reduce their heart disease and cancer risk. The investigators added that the best dietary advice was to follow federal guidelines for healthy eating--less saturated fats and trans fats, more grains and more fruits and vegetables.

Not everyone was convinced. Some, like Dr. Dean Ornish, a longtime promoter of low-fat diets and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, said that the women did not reduce their fat to low enough levels or eat enough fruits and vegetables. He also said the study, even at eight years, did not give the diets enough time.

Others said that diet could still make a difference, at least with heart disease, if people were to eat the so-called Mediterranean diet, low in saturated fats like butter and high in oils like olive oil. The women in the study reduced all kinds of fat.

The diets studied "had an antique patina," said Dr. Peter Libby, a cardiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School. These days, Libby said, most people have moved on from the idea of controlling total fat to the idea that people should eat different kinds of fat.

But the Mediterranean diet has not been subjected to a study of this scope, researchers said.

Barbara Howard, an epidemiologist at MedStar Research Institute, a nonprofit hospital group, and a principal investigator in the study, said people should realize that diet alone was not enough to stay healthy. "We are not going to reverse any of the chronic diseases in this country by changing the composition of the diet," Howard said. "People are always thinking it's what they ate. They are not looking at how much they ate or that they smoke or that they are sedentary."

Except for not smoking, the evidence for advice on what makes a healthy lifestyle is largely indirect, Howard said. Most medical researchers agree, however, that it also makes sense for people to eat well, control their weight and get regular exercise.

That is also what the cancer society recommends. Thun, who described the study's results as "completely null over the eight-year follow-up for both cancers and heart disease," said his group had no plans to suggest that low-fat diets were going to protect against cancer.

Others cautioned against being too certain that any particular diet would markedly improve health and noted that whether someone developed a chronic disease might not be entirely under their control - genetics also matters.

David Freedman, a statistician at the University of California, Berkeley, who is not connected with the study but has written books on the design and analysis of clinical trials, said the results should be taken seriously.

In this case, the diet study addressed a tricky problem. For decades, many scientists have said, and many in the public have believed, that what people eat determines how likely they are to get a chronic disease. But that has been hard to prove. Studies of dietary fiber and colon cancer failed to find that fiber was protective, and studies of vitamins thought to protect against cancer didn't show an effect.

Gradually, many cancer researchers began questioning large parts of the diet-cancer hypothesis, but it has retained a hold on the public imagination. "Nothing fascinates the American public so much as the notion that what you eat rather than how much you eat affects your health," said Libby.

The new study found that women who were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet ate significantly less fat over the next eight years. But they had just as much breast and colon cancer and just as much heart disease.

The women were not trying to lose weight, and their weights remained fairly steady. But their experiences with the diets allowed researchers to question some popular notions about diet and obesity.

There is a common belief that Americans get fat because they eat too many carbohydrates. The idea is that a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet leads to weight gain, higher insulin and blood glucose levels, and more diabetes, even if the calories are the same as in a higher-fat diet. That did not happen in the study.

Others have said the opposite: that low-fat diets enable people to lose weight naturally. But again, that belief was not supported by the data in the study.

As for heart disease risk factors, the only one affected was LDL cholesterol, which increases heart disease risk. The levels were slightly higher in women eating the higher-fat diet, but not high enough to make a noticeable difference in their risk of heart disease.

Although all the study participants were women, the colon cancer and heart disease results should also apply to men, said Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative.
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Old 02-09-2006, 07:43 AM   #2
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I read this article twice over, and for the life of me.........there is no alternative...... figures.
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Old 02-09-2006, 09:38 AM   #3
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I think the clear message is portion control.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:29 AM   #4
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I'm surprised they didn't mention the evils of many processed foods.

Chemical preservatives and chemical fat replacements etc are big contributors to our outrageously increasing cancer rates.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I think the clear message is portion control.

I agree. And exercise.


So, I guess instead of ordering the 100x100, I could order the 50x50.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
I'm surprised they didn't mention the evils of many processed foods.

Chemical preservatives and chemical fat replacements etc are big contributors to our outrageously increasing cancer rates.




avoid corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils at all costs. (stupid sugar tariffs)

it's not about fat, it's about artificiality.

and exercise. stop driving and walk. ride a bike. take the stairs. try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day, more is better. go swimming.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




avoid corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils at all costs. (stupid sugar tariffs)

it's not about fat, it's about artificiality.

and exercise. stop driving and walk. ride a bike. take the stairs. try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day, more is better. go swimming.


I love my power walks and pilates.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

avoid corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils at all costs. (stupid sugar tariffs)
Both of those are found in baby formula...all brands...of all things.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy


Both of those are found in baby formula...all brands...of all things.

bad, bad, bad.
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:55 PM   #10
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All of this Food Police and The For-Your-Good Health Storm Troopers propaganda we have been bombarded with for years and years seems to be suggesting that we have some control over how long we live.

It's false.

I had a friend who never smoked, drank, and did all the proper thaings to take care of herself and she died at the age of 34 from breast cancer.

A neigbor I know smoked cigarettes from the age of twelve and died at the age of 98(he was still smoking cigs) from natural causes.

My great-uncle was a farmer all his life. He ate garden grown vegetables, raised his own cattle, chickens, and pigs.

His wife seasoned all the veggies with fatback.

He smoked ocassiobally, chewed tobacco, and smoked a fine cigar every now and then.

He died from all of this very unproper behavior at the age of 107.


My point is, I agree that we should exercise and do our best to not go to any extreme in our diet,

but I think Saint Paul gave some very good advice"


"Moderation in all things."


And we should always remember that how long we live and when we die is something we do not control.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
All of this Food Police and The For-Your-Good Health Storm Troopers propaganda we have been bombarded with for years and years seems to be suggesting that we have some control over how long we live.

It's false.

I had a friend who never smoked, drank, and did all the proper thaings to take care of herself and she died at the age of 34 from breast cancer.

A neigbor I know smoked cigarettes from the age of twelve and died at the age of 98(he was still smoking cigs) from natural causes.

My great-uncle was a farmer all his life. He ate garden grown vegetables, raised his own cattle, chickens, and pigs.

His wife seasoned all the veggies with fatback.

He smoked ocassiobally, chewed tobacco, and smoked a fine cigar every now and then.

He died from all of this very unproper behavior at the age of 107.


My point is, I agree that we should exercise and do our best to not go to any extreme in our diet,

but I think Saint Paul gave some very good advice"


"Moderation in all things."


And we should always remember that how long we live and when we die is something we do not control.
Here here!

Personally, I'm getting fed up with all these diet Nazis hyping up the "food-that-will-kill-you-next" propoganda and the next diet fad.
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
All of this Food Police and The For-Your-Good Health Storm Troopers propaganda we have been bombarded with for years and years seems to be suggesting that we have some control over how long we live.

It's false.

I had a friend who never smoked, drank, and did all the proper thaings to take care of herself and she died at the age of 34 from breast cancer.

A neigbor I know smoked cigarettes from the age of twelve and died at the age of 98(he was still smoking cigs) from natural causes.

My great-uncle was a farmer all his life. He ate garden grown vegetables, raised his own cattle, chickens, and pigs.

His wife seasoned all the veggies with fatback.

He smoked ocassiobally, chewed tobacco, and smoked a fine cigar every now and then.

He died from all of this very unproper behavior at the age of 107.


My point is, I agree that we should exercise and do our best to not go to any extreme in our diet,

but I think Saint Paul gave some very good advice"


"Moderation in all things."


And we should always remember that how long we live and when we die is something we do not control.


i am sure we can all pull out our little anecdotes -- the health nut who dies of lung cancer and the chain smoker who lives to be 90.

the fact remains: you are what you eat.

make good decisions, both for your body and for the earth itself.
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i am sure we can all pull out our little anecdotes -- the health nut who dies of lung cancer and the chain smoker who lives to be 90.

the fact remains: you are what you eat.

make good decisions, both for your body and for the earth itself.
We know we should make good decisions, the issues is "what constitutes a good decision?" After years of demonizing fat, a lengthy study shows no material difference between "healthy" eaters and people with no dietary limitations - seriously questioning the notion that "we are what we eat".
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


We know we should make good decisions, the issues is "what constitutes a good decision?" After years of demonizing fat, a lengthy study shows no material difference between "healthy" eaters and people with no dietary limitations - seriously questioning the notion that "we are what we eat".


because it's not about fat, its about what kinds of fat, and more importantly, how artificial your food is.

we can also go through this article and debate all of these words -- what kind of fat? what is "healthy" eating? what is a low-fat diet? what are the possible other factors not tested in the study?

it seems quite common sensical that you are what you eat. compare cancer rates and longevity on, say, Okinawa and then compare it to, say, Ohio, our fattest state. it makes little sense to read every study and do a diet overhaul each time something new comes out, but it makes total sense to eat fresh, nautral foods, seasonally if at all possible, and keep things like saturated fats, sugar, corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils as low as possible (if not totally eradicated).

i think the problem is that we seem to be looking for a diet as an answer or a solution. it is one component of a lifestyle that one can adopt that probably -- but of course not definitely -- help one live longer and healthier. on a personal note, i've changed my diet fairly dramatically over the past year or so, not only what i eat but when i eat, and i've seen a noticeable difference in both the weight i've lost and in my complexion.
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
it seems quite common sensical that you are what you eat. compare cancer rates and longevity on, say, Okinawa and then compare it to, say, Ohio, our fattest state. it makes little sense to read every study and do a diet overhaul each time something new comes out, but it makes total sense to eat fresh, nautral foods, seasonally if at all possible, and keep things like saturated fats, sugar, corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils as low as possible (if not totally eradicated).
Missing from the equation is genetic make-up of the people in the two locations.

I know there are many "studies" which point us in different directions. And many result in new diet changes, even though the studies may involve small numbers of people over relatively short periods of time.

I would tend to give more emphasis on a study of this magnitude, but didn't sit down to a plateful of Oreos to celebrate.

Perhaps it is a matter of being in tuned with how your body responds to different foods. I've also eliminated many of the same things you cite from my diet and generally feel better.
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