Womens Health Initiative Health and Diet Study

WHI Women’s Health Initiative Diet TrialLow-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease: The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial.

"Breast cancer rates were 9% lower in women in the Dietary Change group" the study shows that those women with higher changes in saturated fat consumption had even better rates of reduction. This figure is considered statistically insignificant as it could be down to chance.

London Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston foods for life questions the validity of conclusions of the diet trial.

* Participants reduced saturated fat - they didn't cut it out.
* The difference in fat intake between the Dietary Change and Comparison groups declined over time, from 11% at year one to 8%. 8% is lower than the 9% difference in lowered breast cancer that they claim is statistically insignificant.
* There seems an apparent lack of focus on cutting down meat.
* Focus was on low fat rather than bad fat - lack of essential fats in the diet could be almost as detrimental as too much saturated fat.
* No mention of cutting out dairy from the diet is mentioned.
* It's reported that participants had a more challenging time with increasing grains and no mention of replacing simple processed carbs with more complex wholemeal carbohydrates.

Yvonne say "It's a shame that this massive 8 year study missed the opportunity to focus on a truly healthy diet rather than erroneously just focussing on "Low Fat Diets". Studies on vegetarian/vegan diets show significant benefits and lower risks especially if an adequate nutritional intake of vitamin B12 and essential fats is maintained.

WHI Conclusion
A low fat dietary pattern may have some potential for reducing breast cancer risk, particularly in women consuming a high fat diet. However, the current findings are not strong enough to make a recommendation that most women should focus on low-fat dietary patterns to prevent breast cancer. These findings indicate that a low-fat diet provided no protection from colorectal cancer and should not be recommended for that purpose. The low-fat diet did not specifically focus on reducing saturated fat, had only a small effect on blood cholesterol, and did not reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the WHI results suggest that women who achieved greater reductions in saturated fat or trans fat, and higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, might experience a reduced risk of heart attacks. Overall, the WHI low fat dietary pattern is not inconsistent with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and remains a healthy option for postmenopausal women in general.

Womens Health Initiative Diet Trial Findings

WHI BBC * Newsday * USA Today


more about vegetarian EPA DHA and vegetarian and vegan sources of essential fats here