Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, August 14, 1971, Image 14

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    14—Lancaster Saturday, August 14, 1971
Donald Drake, science writer.
had an article headlined “Dis
turbing Question Raised by
Study of Polyunsaturated Diet”
in the April 18 issue of the Phil
delphia Inquirer. While the
article may not be completely
satisfactory to farmers who feel
that polyunsaturated diets have
been discredited by recent re
search, the article does at least
raise some serious questions for
those urban residents who have
been moving toward a polyun
saturated diet. The complete
text of the article is as follows:
Millions of Americans for
years now have been dutifully
eating diets high in polyunsatu
rated fats with the hope that this
simple precaution would protect
them from heart attacks
Instead of meat, they eat fish
Instead of butter, they use mar
garine. Instead of traditional
oils they eat corn oil in their
One experiment after another
showed that strict adherence to
such diets would lower blood
fats like the triglycerides and
cholesterol and one epidemilogie
study after another indicated
that a cut In these blood fats
seemed to reduce the chances of
developing heart trouble
The scientists were so en
couraged by these findings that
a massive, multimillion dollar
study was prooosed to test these
diets on hundreds of thousands
of Americans
For a variety of reasons the
proposal was shelved by the
Federal Government. One
reason was that some scientists
felt not enough was known to
precisely tinker with the diet so
that just the potentially harmful
things in it were eliminated
Now scientists have come up
with some studies, indicating
that it is premature to put the
Royal Visitors
King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth of Great Britain,
who, on June 7, 1939, crossed
over onto American soil
from Canada at Niagara
Falls, N Y , were the first
reigning British monarchs to
visit the United States
•Across the
Editor's Desk
entire nation on diets high in'
polyunsaturated fats.
One of the more disturbing of
these studies was presented in
a recent issue of the medical
journal Lancet by Dr Morton
Lee Pearce of the University of
California School of Medicine in
Los Angeles and Dr. Seymour
Dayton of the Los Angeles Vet
erans Administration Center
Studying 846 men at the VA’s
Wadsworth Hospital, the re
searchers did indeed find that
those men on the polyunsaturate
■were about 40 percent less likely
to develop heart trouble.
But they also found that the
men on the special diet were
almost twice as likely to develop
This raised an obviously dis
turbing question
Do diets high in polyunsatu
rated fats promote cancer’ Does
it mean that precautions taken
aginst heart trouble, merely
leave a person more prone to
cancer? Could nature be so in
credibly tricky and mean?
Mindful of all the scientific
Cancer Factor
See a Brock Groin Drying System in Operation on Our Own Farm.
work that has indicated the
value of such diets, Drs. Pearce
and Dayton were extremely
cautious in their interpretation
of the data
In fact, they went so far as to
“The high incidence of fatal
carcinomas in our experimental
group is of borderline signifi
They went on to explain, as
the authors of opposing studies
usually fail to do, that a review
of the data may show that the
diet had nothing to £o with can
cer, that it was a chance occur
rence or some other unknown
factor was at work.
But in light of the preliminary
work, they did think it worth
Tests Urged
“We think it premature to
make a blanket prescription of
a diet high in polyunsaturated
fat for the entire population.”
It was their belief that the
data was sufficiently disturbing
to require more tests along these
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But they also felt that since
it is clear that a person with a
lot of these fats in the blood
runs a greater risk of developing
heart trouble, that such people
should cut saturated fats such
as those found in meat, eggs,
cheese and other dietary pro
The California study consisted
of feeding 422 patients in the VA
hospital conventional American
diets and 42 men diets with a lot
of polyunsaturated fats.
After more than eight years,
they found that 70 of the men
eating the conventional diet de
veloped fatal heart and blood
vessel diseases as compared to
48 on the polyunsaturated diet.
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The over-all fatality rate was
similar, however* 174 deaths in
the polyunsaturated group as
compared to 178 among those
on the conventional diet
A check of the death records
showed that the big difference
was in the area of cancer. The
polyunsaturated group had 31
cancer deaths as compared to 17
in the other group.
Even if the diets were respon
sible for the difference, doctors
don’t know if the polyunsaturat
ed fats were responsible, or the
comparative lack of meat or
saturated fats or simply becaugg
the persons saved from heart
attacks lived long enough to de
velop cancer.