The Impotence of Low Fat Diets

If you want to challenge your world view of diets and health, read this recent article in the New York Times. It gives a decent story about the recent results surrounding the Women’s Health Initiative study.

To crystalize some of the major findings of the results, let me quote from the second link:

There is a common belief that Americans get fat because they eat too many carbohydrates. The idea is that a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet leads to weight gain, higher insulin and blood glucose levels, and more diabetes, even if the calories are the same as in a higher-fat diet. That did not happen here.

Others have said the opposite: that low-fat diets enable people to lose weight naturally. But that belief was not supported by this study.

But the best line came from Barbara Howard, a principle investigator in the study:

“We are not going to reverse any of the chronic diseases in this country by changing the composition of the diet,” Dr. Howard said. “People are always thinking it’s what they ate. They are not looking at how much they ate or that they smoke or that they are sedentary.”

That sound you heard was that of the multi-billion dollar diet industry gasping and reaching for their wallets. Nothing affect their bottom line more than Doctors advocating for exercise and not for special diets. The diet industry had already been in a bit of a malaise of late, what with Atkins filing for bankruptcy last year. The findings in this study can’tbe good news for anyone trying to fill Dr. Atkins’ size 10′s.

Perhaps now we can focus on the size of food portions rather than food composition? Just a thought.

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