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Research challenges long-held ideas on calcium, fat

Michael's picture

Americans like simple solutions to complicated problems. This is especially true in medicine.

Two fundamental “truths” of health advice are 1) calcium builds strong bones and 2) saturated fat clogs coronary arteries. Both may turn out to be wrong.

The calcium story has been building for decades. Because everyone knows that bones contain calcium, it seemed logical to assume that taking more of this mineral would make bones stronger. As a result, millions of women have been told to swallow a couple of calcium pills daily to ward off osteoporosis.

Had people bothered to look carefully at the research, however, their enthusiasm might have dimmed. More than 140 studies have been published on the role of dairy, milk and calcium supplements in reducing fractures. Two-thirds of them show no benefit from calcium consumption.

Adding vitamin D to calcium has produced mixed results. Only about half these trials have shown some benefit.


Another recent study casts doubt on the superiority of the “prudent diet” for preventing heart disease (Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug 3). For decades, Americans have been urged to eat less fat, especially saturated fat, in an effort to control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. But a new study compared the effects of an Atkins-style, low-carb diet with a low-calorie, low-fat diet in 300 volunteers for two years.

Both groups lost about the same amount of weight, about 15 pounds at the end of the study. The real surprise was that the low-carb (higher fat) diet produced greater improvement in key cardiovascular risk factors, particularly good HDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
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About Michael

Michael's picture

About me

I'm Mike. I'm LowCarbForLife's (Teri's) hubby. I manage the LowCarbCompatible™ web site, among many other things. I don't follow a strict diet but I do follow LowCarbForLife's way of eating most of the time, since we eat together (and I cook most of the time).

My web site

Current Diet Type
Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program (CALP)

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