In the 1980s and 1990s, Americans were told that eating less fat would reduce risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. Why didn’t it work? Essentially, reducing total fat led to intake of more refined carbohydrates and less healthy fats, and both of these changes had negative health impacts.
Evolving Guidelines: Dietary advice on fat intake has evolved over the years. Based on strong evidence that diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol were associated with high blood cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart attack, the 1980 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended Americans “avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.” The 1990 Dietary Guidelines added risk for obesity to the list of reasons to cut back on fats. (Since a gram of fat has more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrate, reducing fat intake is the fastest way to reduce calorie intake.) But, soon thereafter, data began to emerge that low-fat diets were not having the expected results. “The 2000 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee noted the adverse effects of low-fat diets, and for the first time since their inception changed the guidance from low fat to moderate fat,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, a member of that committee who is now a senior scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. From 2000 on, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommended consuming a diet moderate in total fat that keeps saturated fat intake to under 10 percent of calories. The 2015 DGA emphasizes consuming foods rich in polyunsaturated fat. Some scientists feel that even this moderate fat restriction goes too far. Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter sites evidence that a higher proportion of calories from fat is not harmful for either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or obesity, and in fact can lower risk if healthy (poly- and mono-unsaturated) fats replace refined starches and sugars. Continue reading
I have written numerous times about the nutritional benefits of coconut oil. For starters you can check my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet. But that is just coconut oil – a saturated fat – but only one kind of fat.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health nutrition expert David Ludwig says that the low-fat diet remains “deeply embedded in public consciousness and food policy.” Recent research suggests that eating a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet—which Americans were advised to do for about 40 years—is not a good idea.
In an October 6, 2016 CNN.com article, Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition, wrote that longstanding recommendations about avoiding dietary fat—from the government and all major professional nutrition associations—were based on limited scientific evidence. Experts who touted a low-fat diet said it would help people stay lean and healthy. But, instead, rates of obesity and diabetes surged.
Experts now say that not all fats are bad—in fact, some are healthy and important in a balanced diet. Several recent studies found that high-fat diets actually produce greater weight loss than low-fat diets. And while the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have now lifted the limit on dietary fat, “you’d never know it, because a full accounting of this failed experiment has not been made,” Ludwig wrote. He called for a rigorous examination of “the low-fat diet debacle” and for more government funding to test new ideas in nutrition.
Read the CNN.com article: Doctor: Low-fat diets stuffed with misconceptions.
As I have said previously, living a healthy life and eating intelligently is the answer, not fad diets that don’t work and often throw your body out of balance.
Chlebowski can’t explain why the low-fat diet helped, but it may be due to the diet and weight loss reducing inflammation, which can affect cancer growth. Chlebowski said it’s also not clear from this study why the low-fat diet provided greater benefit to women with estrogen receptor-negative cancers than to those with estrogen receptor-positive cancers.
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Eating a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of early death in some women with breast cancer, according to new research.
The low-fat diet seemed particularly helpful for early stage breast cancer patients with so-called estrogen receptor-negative (ER-negative) disease. These women had a 36 percent reduced risk of death from any cause over 15 years if they ate a low-fat diet for five years following their diagnosis, said study researcher Dr. Rowan Chlebowski. He is a medical oncologist at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Women who had both ER-negative and progesterone-receptor negative (PR-negative) cancers had an even greater reduction in death risk during the study. Over 15 years, their risk of dying from any cause was reduced by 56 percent if they ate a low-fat diet during the five years after diagnosis, he found.
Women in the study reduced their dietary fat intake from…
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“These studies are showing that in men with prostate cancer, you really are what you eat,” Aronson said. “The studies suggest that by altering the diet, we may favorably affect the biology of prostate cancer.”
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Men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet and took fish oil supplements had lower levels of pro-inflammatory substances in their blood and a lower cell cycle progression score — a measure used to predict cancer recurrence — than men who ate a typical Western diet, UCLA researchers found.
The findings are important because lowering the cell cycle progression (CCP) score may help prevent prostate cancers from becoming more aggressive, said lead study author William Aronson, a clinical professor of urology at UCLA and chief of urologic oncology at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“We found that CCP scores were significantly lower in the prostate cancer of men who consumed the low-fat fish oil diet, as compared to men who followed a higher-fat Western diet,” Aronson said. “We also found that men on the low-fat fish oil diet had reduced blood levels of pro-inflammatory substances that…
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