What Food Studies Show – New York Times

To the Editor:

According to â??Food and Exercise Studies Have One Big Problemâ? (The Upshot, Aug. 11), we are confused about diet and health because studies are flawed and wildly inconsistent

While no single study is perfect, all types of studies support a conclusion that a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and unsaturated fats; limits refined starches, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red and processed meat; and excludes industrial trans fat will reduce rates of diabetes, cardiovascular and other diseases, and total mortality.

Confusion is fueled through the extensive coverage of small studies suggesting that being overweight is desirable but not of superior studies including millions of people suggesting the opposite.

The article quotes a doctor saying that findings for coffee have been wildly inconsistent; actually, findings from large prospective studies have consistently shown no increases in cancer or other serious outcomes from coffee consumption.

WALTER WILLETT

Boston

The writer is chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.

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