Low-fat dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial.

 

(Two huge studies, almost ten years old, yet rarely talked about.)

 

JAMA. 2006 Feb 8;295(6):655-66.

Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, et al

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that a dietary intervention, intended to be low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits, and grains to reduce cancer, would reduce CVD risk.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Randomized controlled trial of 48,835 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years, of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. Women were randomly assigned to an intervention (19,541 [40%]) or comparison group (29,294 [60%]) in a free-living setting. Study enrollment occurred between 1993 and 1998 in 40 US clinical centers; mean follow-up in this analysis was 8.1 years.

INTERVENTION:

Intensive behavior modification in group and individual sessions designed to reduce total fat intake to 20% of calories and increase intakes of vegetables/fruits to 5 servings/d and grains to at least 6 servings/d. The comparison group received diet-related education materials.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease (CHD), fatal and nonfatal stroke, and CVD (composite of CHD and stroke).

RESULTS:

By year 6, mean fat intake decreased by 8.2% of energy intake in the intervention vs the comparison group, with small decreases in saturated (2.9%), monounsaturated (3.3%), and polyunsaturated (1.5%) fat; increases occurred in intakes of vegetables/fruits (1.1 servings/d) and grains (0.5 serving/d). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, diastolic blood pressure, and factor VIIc levels were significantly reduced by 3.55 mg/dL, 0.31 mm Hg, and 4.29%, respectively; levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and insulin did not significantly differ in the intervention vs comparison groups. The numbers who developed CHD, stroke, and CVD (annualized incidence rates) were 1000 (0.63%), 434 (0.28%), and 1357 (0.86%) in the intervention and 1549 (0.65%), 642 (0.27%), and 2088 (0.88%) in the comparison group. The diet had no significant effects on incidence of CHD (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90-1.06), stroke (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.90-1.15), or CVD (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.92-1.05). Excluding participants with baseline CVD (3.4%), the HRs (95% CIs) for CHD and stroke were 0.94 (0.86-1.02) and 1.02 (0.90-1.17), respectively. Trends toward greater reductions in CHD risk were observed in those with lower intakes of saturated fat or trans fat or higher intakes of vegetables/fruits.

CONCLUSIONS (CVD):

Over a mean of 8.1 years, a dietary intervention that reduced total fat intake and increased intakes of vegetables, fruits, and grains did not significantly reduce the risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD in postmenopausal women and achieved only modest effects on CVD risk factors, suggesting that more focused diet and lifestyle interventions may be needed to improve risk factors and reduce CVD risk. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16467234

CONCLUSION (CANCER):

In this study, a low-fat dietary pattern intervention did not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women during 8.1 years of follow-up. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16467233

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N Engl J Med. 2006 Nov 9;355(19):1991-2002.

Low-carbohydrate-diet score and the risk of coronary heart disease in women.

Halton TL1, Willett WC, Liu S, Manson JE, Albert CM, Rexrode K, Hu FB.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Low-carbohydrate diets have been advocated for weight loss and to prevent obesity, but the long-term safety of these diets has not been determined.

METHODS:

We evaluated data on 82,802 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who had completed a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Data from the questionnaire were used to calculate a low-carbohydrate-diet score, which was based on the percentage of energy as carbohydrate, fat, and protein (a higher score reflects a higher intake of fat and protein and a lower intake of carbohydrate). The association between the low-carbohydrate-diet score and the risk of coronary heart disease was examined.

RESULTS:

During 20 years of follow-up, we documented 1994 new cases of coronary heart disease. After multivariate adjustment, the relative risk of coronary heart disease comparing highest and lowest deciles of the low-carbohydrate-diet score was 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76 to 1.18; P for trend=0.19). The relative risk comparing highest and lowest deciles of a low-carbohydrate-diet score on the basis of the percentage of energy from carbohydrate, animal protein, and animal fat was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.74 to 1.19; P for trend=0.52), whereas the relative risk on the basis of the percentage of energy from intake of carbohydrates, vegetable protein, and vegetable fat was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.56 to 0.88; P for trend=0.002). A higher glycemic load was strongly associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (relative risk comparing highest and lowest deciles, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.15 to 3.15; P for trend=0.003).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat are not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease in women. When vegetable sources of fat and protein are chosen, these diets may moderately reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

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