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Conclusive results on diet & health

2007-10-26 22:44:40.543722+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Junkfood Science looks at the results of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification Trial studies:

So, to settle the issue once and for all, one of the largest, longest and most expensive randomized, controlled, primary dietary intervention clinical trial in the history of our country was launched in 1993. This was to be THE study to end all studies and proponents believed it would finally prove the benefits of not just low-fat diets, but what has come to epitomize the government's very definition of "healthy eating." ...

The results are in, and especially given the grand and glorious predictions for the study, they're underwhelming. I'd need to read more to agree with all of the conclusions of that article, but the net result is that most of what we've heard from "the authorities" in terms of healthy eating is bunk. Which is what y'all roughly already knew. Part two in the Junkfood Science blog entries. (Via).

[ related topics: Health moron ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Superstition made: 2007-10-27 13:07:40.779737+00 by: m

As implied in the article, this information will be ignored in the never ending search for the dietary fountain of youth. People want to believe that they can protect themselves from disease and death with dietary ritual and sacrifice. This is nothing new, but rather has been popular in one form or other for thousands of years.

There are many who gain by claiming the knowledge of this arcane art. The most significant and important purveyor, is the female chauvinist witch otherwise known as "Mom" ;^). She initiates the innocent into the basic beliefs of the cult, and weakens their defenses against future dietary memes. This role enhances her status within the family unit, and provides a soporific for a number of her uncomfortable psychological states.

As the article points out, there are no particular benefits of dietary control for healthy individuals other than preventing deficiencies. Those with medical errors of metabolism may require special diets, but such regimens are for the purpose of remediating the failed physiology, not the extension of normal life.

Is this study likely to have much of an impact? Probably not. We are all somewhat superstitious, we merely have more sophisticated jujubes. As Mary Kelly points out, "Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams."

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-30 03:20:51.996576+00 by: crasch [edit history]

Fascinating, if depressing, stuff. Thanks!

I wonder what the author of the blog article would make of people like Clarence Bass:


#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-30 03:55:39.438512+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think the author was targeting the specifically "generic low fat" diet that's been pushed for so long. I'm guessing that Clarence Bass is more conscious of the details of his diet than most of those in that particular study. My impression with body builders and athletes it's generally not a question of proportion of fats, sugars and the like so much as it is timing of each of those things.