February 8, 2006


Low-Fat Diet's Benefits Rejected: Study Finds No Drop In Risk for Disease (Rob Stein, 2/08/06, Washington Post)

Low-fat diets do not protect women against heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer or colon cancer, a major study has found, contradicting what had once been promoted as one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.

The eight-year study of nearly 50,000 middle-age and elderly women -- by far the largest, most definitive test of cutting fat from the diet -- did not find any clear evidence that doing so reduced their risks, undermining more than a decade of advice from many doctors.

The findings run contrary to the belief that eating less fat would have myriad health benefits, which had prompted health authorities to begin prominent campaigns to get people to eat less fat and the food industry to line grocery shelves with low-fat cookies, chips and other products.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 8, 2006 10:45 AM

God made three macrobiotic food types, Carbs, Fats, Protien. It seems reasonable that a 1/3 mix of each is in order.

Next, strip out the bad carbs and fats, and eat a diet comensurate with your size (1500-2000 calories/day).

Obesity is a rampaging problem, and it isn't fats, but overconsumption that is killing us.

Posted by: Bruno at February 8, 2006 11:10 AM

Good one Bruno. Additionally, Require the sugar cane growers and refiners to dedicate a part of their crop/product to ethanol production or lose their subsidies. Getting some sugar off the market would be of great benefit to our diets.

Posted by: Genecis at February 8, 2006 11:35 AM

Actually, the strongest evidence is that fats and proteins are good and simple carbohydrates (e.g., sugars, refined grains) bad - the ideal diet is probably more like 40% protein, 40% fats, and 20% carbohydrates, almost all from above-ground vegetables.

Among fats, it appears that trans fats and long-chain saturated fats (which in most American diets are predominantly unsaturated fats gone rancid) are bad, while a diversity of short-chain saturated fats (primarily obtained from fresh meats, uncooked nuts, and plant oils like coconut milk or avocadoes), mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good.

Since most modern meats are high in fat, to get enough protein it's a good idea to buy low-fat (i.e. cheap) cuts and trim the fat (or skin from chicken).

By this reasoning, the healthiest diet is roughly 40% meat and fish, 40% vegetables, and 20% fruit, nuts, dairy.

Posted by: pj at February 8, 2006 12:12 PM

PJ is right - the study simply looked at low-fat diets, but didn't discriminate among the various types of fats. Current thinking is that highly saturated and partially saturated (the irksome neologism 'trans-fats') fats are much more deadly. Some fats will be good for you. Me? I soak every bit of pasta in olive oil, and most bread too.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 8, 2006 12:24 PM

I've had great results with a diet that draws a balance among all seven food groups: salt, sugar, starch, grease, carbonated water and alchohol.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 8, 2006 12:37 PM

Joe: You left out caffine.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 8, 2006 1:09 PM

Sorry. Eight food groups.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 8, 2006 1:16 PM

We are trying to seriously solve America's obesity problem here, and you guys are joking around.

Have you no sense of decorum?! ;-)

BTW, Caffeine is a micro biotic, as are vitamins and minerals (like salt).

I'm with you and 100% on Caffeine (mornings) and Alcohol (evenings).

Posted by: Bruno at February 8, 2006 2:27 PM

I'm on my way to the grocery store right now. I'll stop at the convenience store on the way home, and get a case of beer. I should have all of the food groups covered.

Posted by: AllenS at February 8, 2006 3:02 PM

Pistachio ice cream topped with huge dollops of hot fudge is the perfect food covering as it does all the important food groups.

Vegetable -- It's green, isn't it?

Protein -- Cream and nuts!

Carbs -- Cocoa Beans. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: erp at February 8, 2006 7:08 PM

Health food doesn't make you live longer, it just makes it seem longer.

The four food groups according to Buddy in the movie Elf: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 9, 2006 2:29 AM