The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial: An inconvenient finding and the diet-heart hypothesis

Timothy David Noakes


One goal of the US$700 million Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial was to determine whether post-menopausal women who adopted what was regarded as a ‘heart healthy’ low-fat diet, high in vegetables, fruits and grains, reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The trial substantially favoured the outcome in the intervention group, who also received an intensive nutritional and behaviour education programme not offered to the control group. These studies neatly disprove the diet-heart hypothesis since adoption of ‘heart healthy’ eating not only failed to influence future cardiac events in the healthy but it increased such events in the unhealthy and worsened diabetic control in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Author's affiliations

Timothy David Noakes, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise and Sports Science in the Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text



WHIRCDMT; low-fat; heart healthy; diet; cardiovascular disease

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2013;103(11):824-825. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.7343

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-08-03
Date published: 2013-09-30

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