Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flabby claims about food and cancer

This needs to be repeated again and again: despite the headlines, there are no connections between eating certain foods and being a certain weight and preventing cancer. As Basham and Luik point out:
  • the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial is the most recent, and one of the largest and most expensive, randomised controlled studies of the effect of diet and weight on breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease and stroke. It studied 49,000 American women over an eight-year period. The women in the intervention group ate diets that were low fat and high fibre with six servings of grains and five servings of vegetables and fruits per day.

    There were no statistically significant differences between the intervention group and the control group in the incidence of breast cancer, colon cancer, strokes or heart attacks. Ironically, the women following the 'healthy' diet designed to reduce cancer and heart disease didn't even weigh less than they did at the beginning of the study, or less than the women in the control group who continued to eat as they always had.

Not only did the prescribed diet fail to yield any of the predicted health benefits, diet alone was shown to be ineffective as a tool for weight loss.

If not for global warming, the obesity myth would be the biggest ecomyth presently being inflicted on people.