Sandy Szwarc has, at least twice this month, provided health related stories that I’ve seen no where else, in her blog, Junkfood Science.
In a previous post, I highlighted her evaluation of recent under-reported studies showing counterintuitive results: that fat people survive cardiac episodes better than thin ones!.
She even responded politely to the post, even though I thoroughly and consistently misspelled her name! How embarrassing for MUDGE! Sorry, Sandy Szwarc!
She toppled my world again last week. She writes about a gigantic study launched in 1993 to pursue the relationship between what’s been known forever as healthy eating, and good health.
Remember reading about this study? I don’t.
Guess why. Because, once again, the results were startling.
As she writes,
Everybody knows what it means to eat healthy. We’ve heard about healthy foods and the importance of eating right our entire lives: “To be healthy and prevent heart disease, cancers and other chronic diseases of aging — and to maintain a slim, “healthy” weight — we should eat a low-fat and high-fiber diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.” This advice comes from respected doctors and health officials and we hear it everywhere, so it is unfathomable that these dietary beliefs have never actually been clinically tested…until recently.
So to rectify the lack of hard evidence a seriously mammoth study was created. Sandy Szwarc reports,
According to the National Institutes of Health, it was “one of the largest studies of its kind ever undertaken in the United States and is considered a model for future studies of women’s health.” It was a major undertaking, costing $415 million and was conducted at 40 medical centers across the country. It was a well-designed and carefully conducted study and researchers were confident this would prove the rightness of eating “right.”
The comparison, among over 48,000 post-menopausal women (the age group most at risk for heart disease and cancer) divided the group by diet:
The women in the healthy eating intervention group cut their total fat intakes down to 24% of their calories and 8% saturated fat the first year — well below the control group eating about 38% total fat and nearly 40% more saturated fats. By the end of the study, the “healthy eaters” were still averaging 29% fat, compared to 37% in the control group. The “healthy” dieters also ate about 25% more fruits and vegetables, grains and fiber than the typical American diet of the control group.
By now, you see where this is going. In the four major areas of concern, the results of years of study showed:
Cardiovascular disease (the biggest cause of death as we age): Healthy eating proved to have no effect on cardiovascular disease….
Breast cancer: Healthy eating proved to have no effect on breast cancer incidences….
Colorectal cancer: Healthy eating proved to have no effect on colon or rectal cancers….
Body Weight: Not only that, but the women following a “healthy” diet for 8 years didn’t end up thinner….
These results only hit the news in “spun” form, because the health establishment refuses to be confused by the facts. Turns out that the conventional wisdom is more properly characterized as unsupported by clinical findings conventional wis-dumb.
Sandy Szwarc says this much more eloquently than I can. Take a look:
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
One has to wonder: what have I been doing beating myself up all these years? Hating myself for not eating healthy; despising my inability to keep discipline and lose all that ugly fat once and for all; feeling certain that I’ll die before my time and they’ll have trouble finding a casket that fits.
And all that self-denial leads to… nothing? No substantive difference?
I’ll repeat Sandy Szwarc’s final graf:
Health is not evidence of moral character and pristine diets. Don’t let anyone try to scare you, threaten you, or get you to believe that if you don’t eat “right” (whatever their definition) you’ll get fat, cancer, heart disease, or die sooner. There is simply no good evidence.
Be sure to check out part 2 of her blockbuster report, reporting on analyses of the findings in relationship to cancer.
Junkfood Science is a wonderful blog.
It’s it for now. Thanks,