Monday, February 20, 2006

Wait, take what? Eat what? I give up...

In the past few weeks, there have been a couple of health stories that seemingly contradict the "conventional wisdom." Among them (via MedlinePlus):

Calcium, Vitamin D Won't Protect Older Women From Fracture - study participants were randomly assigned to receive calcium carbonate and Vitamin D or placebo. Hip bone density was higher in those receiving the supplements, but there was no significant difference in the rate of fracture. (Get the abstract)

Low-Fat Diets Don't Protect Postmenopausal Women - "A large U.S. government study has found that a diet low in fat but high in vegetables, grains and fruits does not reduce the risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women." This news actually comes from multiple papers published in the Feb 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association; abstracts are here (breast cancer), here (colorectal cancer), and here (cardiovascular disease).

Cardiologists cautioned,
""We have to be very careful. The last thing I want is someone to go out eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, chief of women's cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "It's a combination of things that lowers cardiovascular risk. It's no one diet, no one exercise, no one pill." Goldberg is also author of The Women's Healthy Heart Program.

"It would be easy to misinterpret the results of this study," Dr. Robert H. Eckel, president of the heart association, added in a prepared statement. "Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is about following an integrated lifestyle program, rather than concentrating solely on dietary composition."

There were other cautionary notes. It's not clear if starting a low-fat diet earlier in life might have conferred a greater reduction in risk. All of the women in the study were postmenopausal when they changed their eating habits."
Hormone Therapy May Be Less Risky for Younger women (summary) - full-text available for free online

In other news, the new food labels provide information on the amount of trans fat in a product, and a clearer listing of certain allergens. As of right now, trans fat is still bad for you. :)

Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
MeSH Tags: Diet; Diet, Fat-Restricted; Hormone Replacement Therapy; Risk; Risk Factors; Vitamins OR Dietary Supplements

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