Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Low-fat diet is worthless

Gina Kolata writes:
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. ... 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 are reporting today. ...

"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." ...

For decades, many scientists have said, and many members of the public have believed, that what people eat -- the composition of the diet -- 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 failed to show an effect.
Supposed experts have been telling us for years that eating fat was bad, and that eater fiber is good, for various reasons. In fact, there is very little scientific evidence that any American diet is better than any other.