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Diet Low in Saturated Fat Important for Lowering ‘Bad Cholesterol’

Health authorities worldwide have uniformly stressed the importance of diet and lifestyle as the primary means of lowering serum lipids and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.  Combining foods with known cholesterol-lowering properties can help to reduce serum cholesterol effectively under metabolically controlled conditions.

To assess the effect of a dietary portfolio on percentage change in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), Canadian researchers conducted a parallel-design study of 351 participants with
Hyperlipidemia, from 4 participating academic centers across Canada randomized between June 2007 and February 2009.

Participants received dietary advice for 6 months on either a low-saturated fat therapeutic diet (control) or a dietary portfolio that emphasized dietary incorporation of plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibers, and nuts. Routine dietary portfolio involved 2 clinic visits over 6 months and intensive dietary portfolio involved 7 clinic visits over 6 months.

The study found that Percentage LDL-C reductions for each dietary portfolio (13%) were significantly more than the control diet (3%).  A diet rich in soy, fibre, plant sterol, and nuts did better at lowering levels of LDL than a diet low in saturated fats such as low fat dairy, suggesting that certain cholesterol-friendly foods can be more effective in lowering levels of LDL, or ‘bad cholesterol’ than foods merely low in saturated fats.

Dr. David Jenkins, the lead author concludes that “This study indicated the potential value of using recognized cholesterol-lowering foods in combination”.  Such dietary approach may have clinical application, and clinicians may consider recommending to patients.

David J. A. Jenkins et al; JAMA August 2011; Vol 306(8): 831-839

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