Studies are at it again. This time, a large federal study ended two years early because the results were so clear that they didn’t need to continue. The study was investigating whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in fat people with type 2 diabetes. And it didn’t. It was so obvious that it didn’t that, I’m going to say this again, they ended the study two years early.
There are the usual protestations from researchers about how surprised they are, they’re simply shocked, this wasn’t at all what they expected, they were so sure they were going to get exactly the opposite result. Of course. But at least this time they were honest enough to recognize what was happening, admit to it out loud, and shut the pointless thing down.
And the article contains this priceless quote from Dr. David Nathan, a principal investigator and the director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Diabetes Center: “We have to have an adult conversation about this,” he said. “This was a negative result.”
Dr. Nathan also specifically said to “put ‘meaningful’ in quotes” when talking about meaningful weight loss defined as 5% of body weight. Awesome.
He does point out that while the test group (which was on a diet and exercise program) and the control group had similar levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, the dieters used fewer medications, so maybe there’s some kind of choice here between diet & exercise, and meds, which may be true, but personally I think that would need a whole new trial to test, especially since we already know that those things don’t help everyone.
There are, as usual, those in the medical world who are oh-so-dubious about the study, and I am absolutely certain that there will be a great many laypeople who will flat out deny and contradict it, and insist that these results are utterly impossible. But once again, there it fucking is.
I’m with Dr. Nathan. We need to be having a real, adult conversation about this. Weight loss is not a magic bullet or a panacea. Medical professionals need to stop pushing it on fat people as a cure-all and failing to actually treat the health problems that fat people have. We need to stop insisting that fat is the problem and address actual problems.