One of the biggest misconceptions in medical history has finally been put to rest. Low-fat diets offer no protection against chronic diseases in women. In fact, low-fat diets only increase other risks, like diabetes.
I’ve been ranting about this for years. But the message is hard to get through the billions spent to prove otherwise. Industry needs you to fear fat. No sooner than the ink dried on this report, and the spin doctor’s tried to confuse the public over this very simple and stark finding.
In today’s Health Alert, I’ll try to cut to the chase, and give you the bottom line on what this study proved once and what to eat for the healthiest heart in today’s modern world.
New Study Confirms Low-fat No Benefit
The Women’s Health Initiative spent eight years and $415 million studying the diets of 50,000 women. “Based on our findings, we cannot recommend that most women should follow a low-fat diet.” Those were the words of Jacques Rossouw of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which financed the study.
No one should eat a low-fat diet. It defies logic, instinctive tastes, good sense, history, nature, fundamental physiological science and now the best direct prospective, controlled, population study to date.
There are many examples of native cultures eating a very high fat diet. The native people of Alaska and Greenland eat a very high fat diet. Yet they have one of the lowest rates of heart disease. Why? Their fat is wild with no processing. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. Nature gives us the perfect blend of omega-3s and omega-6s in our native diet.
Getting the right balance of these two fats is critical. The best ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s is 1:1. Most meat you buy at the store has a ratio of about 20:1. This is the real reason previous studies seemed to suggest red meat was bad for you – but only in the West.
One of the finest epidemiologists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University recently put it well. “It was a mistake, and this study really confirms that it was the wrong direction to go for nutritional advice. This should be the nail in the coffin for low-fat diets.”
Heart Healthy Supplements: Bridging the Gap to Good Health
Women are far more likely to follow low-fat diets. That makes this study of American women so helpful in the struggle to rediscover our most healthy dietary choices.
Avoiding low-fat foods is just the first step. To make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, consider a few supplements. Most women don’t realize that they’re at higher risk for certain deficiencies:
• Postmenopausal women taking vitamin C increased the elasticity of their major arteries by 26%. This is an important benefit because a woman’s arteries stiffen dramatically after menopause. Vitamin C helps to fight free radicals and support your immune system, both of which benefit your heart. For this use, I recommend a robust dose of 1000mg twice a day.
• Women are almost twice as likely as men to have a B12 deficiency. This leads to high homocysteine, not to mention a number of other unpleasant side effects. Vitamins B12 supplementation can prevent homocysteine from damaging arteries.
If you are an elder woman, regularly check vitamin B12 in your blood for deficiency.
• Eat foods high in alpha-linolenic acid. ALA lowers the risk of a fatal heart attack in women by up to 45%. No matter how well you eat, it is sometimes impossible to know if you are getting an adequate amount of a specific nutrient. You can prevent deficiency with 100 mg per day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD