Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Me and My Pancreas

so i have a family history of diabetes type 2, and conventional wisdom would tell me i shouldn't drink coke or fruit juice or any other sweet and delicious beverage. or eat carbs. or be fat. but with every study that comes back from heath researchers not in the pockets of drug companies, we see less and less reasons to cling to the conventional wisdom. and now this study by the women's heath initiative. for people unfamiliar i'll be quoting from this article at junkfood science about the study and about the initiative.
"In 1992, the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the largest preventive health study in our history, the Women’s Health Initiative. One part was the WHI Dietary Modification Trial — one of the largest, longest and most expensive randomized, controlled clinical dietary intervention trials in the history of our country."

they were trying to prove that healthy eating was the best way to prevent chronic disease, especially type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and promote weight control.

and here's the fun part for me... they completed this huge study and found NOTHING! i know i'm getting ahead here but, yeah. totally null study, which basically means they found no significant difference between the control group and the study group.

so here's the facts and figures bit:
*$415 million and conducted at 40 medical centers
*48,835 postmenopausal women assessed at baseline (the start of the study), one year and then every three years with clinical follow-ups every 6 months and their medications monitored in a pharmacy database
*more than 19,000 women were in the dietary restricted group while the other group was allowed to eat what they wanted.

in fact, here's the quote from the study:
The WHI dietary intervention group received intensive nutritional and behavioral modification training consisting of 18 group sessions in the first year followed by quarterly sessions throughout the trial. Each participant received an individualized dietary fat gram goal estimating 20% of energy from fat during the intervention and a common dietary goal of 5 or more servings daily of combined vegetables and fruits and 6 or more servings daily of grains. Self-monitoring techniques and group session attendance were emphasized.
and apparently they did really well with the women staying within 5-7% over their recommended fat intake, eating roughly 25% more fruits and veggies than the average american and eating a little over 300 calories less per day than the control group.

now the conventional wisdom tells us that these women should have been very healthy, and if not "healthy" thin at least not overweight or fat. but as i said before, the study found no such thing.
After eight years, there were no significant differences in the incidences of more than 30 clinically-documented cancers, heart attacks or strokes, or all-cause mortality. The dieters initially lost some weight but rebounded and their body weights, despite 8 years of watching what they ate, were no statistically different from the women who’d been eating whatever they wanted. Both groups ended up at nearly the identical weights they started with, differing a mere 0.7kg, about one pound.
and here's the bit that was of interest to me, what with my family history and all.

According to the WHI researchers, a total of 3,342 new cases of treated diabetes were reported: 7.1% (0.88%/year) in the intervention group and 7.4% (0.91%/year) in the control group during 8.1 years of follow-up. No statistical difference...In the WHI, there was no tenable difference in risk for diabetes among the different BMIs, with odds ratios even slightly higher for women with BMIs<25

so i'm back to looking at what goes into my body as fuel for my cells and fuel for my soul. i'm working on the intuitive eating that HAES recommends. i'm trying not to ignore my body and my hunger ques because i realize more and more that i really don't like how mean and nasty i get when my sugar starts to bottom out. and i'm listening more when my body says "give us red meat" as well as when it says "give us broccoli."

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