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Wednesday, February 08, 2006


For the last 15-20 years or so, the reigning nutritional dogma (discounting Atkins fads) has been to steer people towards a low fat diet. A very large study from NHLBI, which examined 48,835 women over eight years, has found that a low-fat diet was not significantly associated with improved health or outcomes. There were a number of trend effects, but not the dramatic improvements you'd expect from all the low-fat hype. The real message of this study? You have to watch all of what you eat, not just the fat.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often called a scourge of the information economy. The thing is, that a Harvard Medical School study has found, contrary to expectation, that it is more likely to be caused by manufacturing jobs than by sitting at a computer. I guess I don't buy this study at all. First of all, I know more than a few people with CTS, and they all seem to have gotten it working on the computer.

Second, the study claims no CTS risk for up to seven hours a day at the computer. I don't think there's been a non-vacation week when I haven't spent more than 7 hours a day on the computer since high school. Nowadays, I work about 10-12 hours a day on the computer for my job, then I go home and read blogs, the news, and pay bills, etc. on the computer. I'm sure most of the people reading this are similar, and I fail to see how "up to seven hours a day" is meaningful to much of anyone.

UPDATE: Here is the NIH release for the low-fat diet study, which has some better details. The result is still the same: eating less saturated and trans fat is a very good idea, but you have to look at overall diet quality for real health improvements.

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