Women’s Health Initiative?

Disappearing facts

Do you recall that very famous ongoing study called the Women’s Health Initiative?

It’s a trial that has been following about 50,000 postmenopausal women for decades. And we’ve been learning a lot of interesting facts from it.

Most of these findings make front page headlines–that’s how big-time this study is. And yet, one discovery surfaced without any of the usual fanfare.

In fact, there was barely a peep from the media at all.

So what exactly was the discovery that was so unworthy of mention? I’ll give you a hint: The American Heart Association is probably wiping egg off their face as I type this. (Pun completely intended.)

In case you haven’t guessed, data from the Women’s Health Initiative shows that a low-fat diet doesn’t prevent heart disease in women.

Of course, you and I already knew that. Just yesterday, I exposed the backward thinking behind the demonization of eggs in this country.

But this is still huge news for the majority of people outside of my readership. So let me share some of the details with you.

This study included a couple of dietary interventions. For starters, participants were instructed to boost fruit and vegetable consumption to at least five servings a day. (Not a bad idea, obviously–though lumping both together into a single category is ridiculous.)

The women also ate at least six servings of grain daily. (Their biggest mistake, if you ask me. Seriously… six servings of grains? I’d be fat as a house.)

The goal was to reduce intake of dietary fat. But weight loss goals weren’t a part of this study. (Although a strategy like this would have made for some interesting statistics. But I digress.)

When all was said and done, a low-fat diet did nothing to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, or colon cancer. And that’s despite an intensive intervention–including group behavioral modification sessions and regular individual contact–that lasted eight full years.

Of course, this approach was good for something. It helped to establish lasting changes in participants’ eating habits. By the sixth year, the women had dropped their total fat intake by more than a third.

Clearly, these gals were getting the message… and they were sticking to their low-fat protocols.

If this doesn’t convince you that cutting the fat from your diet is a bad idea, I don’t know what will. But once again, don’t expect the “powers that be” to come out and admit that they were wrong.

The results of this study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2006–just over seven years ago now.

Have you seen any new recommendations yet? Because I haven’t.

And you know what? That’s criminal. These institutions know how many people rely on their dogma to guide them toward a healthier life. Yet, the frustration grows because their devoted followers still feel sick in spite of doing “the right thing.”

Because unfortunately, if you listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about, you’re bound to fail.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with the half-truths and propaganda. In the words of Barbra Streisand and the late Donna Summer, enough is enough.

Source: “Low-fat dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial.” JAMA. 2006 Feb 8;295(6):655-66.