Does a Low Fat Diet
Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer? - Stroke? Heart Disease?
The new study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle,
and colleagues with the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary
Modification Trial that claims a low fat diet was no healthier than
normal fat diet did more than raise eyebrows. It has experts debating
back and forth whether the study was legitimate.
Was it a flawed study? The data was extrapolated from a huge number of
participants; nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women. Of those, 40% were
asked to make dietary modifications including “consumption of a reduced
amount of fat (20 percent of energy) and of an increased amount of
vegetables and fruits (5 or more servings a day) and grains (6 or more
servings a day).” The other 60% made no dietary modifications.
The study found little difference in breast cancer rates, cardiovascular
disease or stroke. The rate of breast cancer for the women that
modified their diet was 3.35% while the rate for women that did not
modify their diet was 3.66%. The difference was considered slight.
Two other studies published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, using the same group of postmenopausal women, found “no
significant effects on incidence of (coronary heart disease) CHD,
stroke, (cardio vascular disease) CVD, or heart attack.” The low fat
diet did not reduce these risks either, according to the researchers.
These studies came on-the-heals of
another study published in The Lancet. The British journal reported
that increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce the
risk of stroke by 26 percent. This research included the participation
of over 250,000 people spanning a 13 year period.
The Lancet study also found that the people that ate the most fruits and
vegetables had an even lower risk of stroke. The researchers believe
that the extra potassium, folate, fiber and antioxidants in the fruits
and vegetables helped lower the risk of stroke.
So who is right? Some experts claim that the WHI study did not
distinguish between good fats and trans-fats. This idea of good fat /
bad fat is the key feature behind the new
South Beach diet.
There are numerous other studies that indicate that fruits and
vegetables are good for you. The
Dash Diet, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, has been proven to
lower blood pressure. Also, the Nurses Health Study has found that
eating too much animal fat may be linked to a higher risk of
pre-menopausal breast cancer. There may be good reason to question the
recent WHI findings.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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