Low-Fat Diet May Not Cut Cancer Risk
Study Fails to Show Lower Risk in Women of Breast Cancer and Heart Disease
Good Fats and Bad
U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend that between 20% and 35% of daily calories
come from fat, with saturated fat accounting for less than 10% of daily
calories. The guidelines call for limiting saturated fats and trans fats in
favor of unsaturated fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, and certain
The WHI study did not make the distinction between so-called "good
fats" and "bad fats," however, and the researchers say this may
have influenced the findings.
There has been a shift in thinking about the role of dietary fat in disease
since the trial was designed in the early 1990s. The emphasis now is on
reducing saturated fats and trans fats in the diet, rather than reducing
overall fat consumption.
The link between cardiovascular disease and diets high in saturated fat has
been well established.
"This study shows that just reducing total fat intake does not go far
enough to have an impact on heart disease risk," says Jacque Rossouw, MD,
adding that women who are following diets low in saturated and trans fats
should be encouraged to continue doing so.
"We have a pretty clear signal that women who are still eating [high-fat
diets] would be well advised to reduce their fat intake," he says.