DIET LOWERS CHOLESTEROL AS MUCH AS DRUGS.txt
2325 -- 9/1/03
DIET LOWERS CHOLESTEROL AS MUCH AS DRUGS
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
A study in JAMA shows that a diet that includes soy, eggplant,
almonds and other plants lowers blood levels of the bad LDL
cholesterol as much as statin drugs do.
46 men and women with high blood cholesterol levels were in the
study. 16 ate the vegetarian diet for one month, 16 consumed a
standard low-fat diet, and 14 ate the low-fat diet and took 20
milligrams of Mevacor every day for a month. The vegetarian group
showed an average drop of 28.6 percent in their bad LDL cholesterol,
that increases risk for heart disease.
Adding the drug Mevacor to a vegetarian diet did not lower
cholesterol any more than the vegetarian diet's 30 percent
reduction. The low fat diet, which doctors have recommended for more
than 45 years, lowered cholesterol by only eight percent. This tells
you that the most important way to prevent heart attacks by lowering
cholesterol is to eat lots of plants. Adding a statin drug to the
vegetarian diet did not lower cholesterol signficantly further.
Two important indicators of heart attack risk are blood levels of
the bad LDL cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a blood
marker of inflammation that appears to be even better as a measure
of risk for a heart attack than blood cholesterol level. The
high-vegetable diet lowered both of these markers as well as the
popular statin drug, and more than a low-fat diet. The fiber-rich
diet included eggplant, okra, soy protein, almonds, margarine
containing plant sterols, barley and psyllium, all foods that alone
have been shown to have potentially beneficial effects on
Journal of the American Medical Association, 290:502-510, July 23,
2003. Effects of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods
vs Lovastatin on Serum Lipids and C-Reactive Protein.
David J. A. Jenkins, MD; Cyril W. C. Kendall, PhD;
Augustine Marchie, BSc; Dorothea A. Faulkner, PhD; Julia M. W. Wong,
RD; Russell de Souza, RD; Azadeh Emam, BSc; Tina L. Parker, RD;
Edward Vidgen, BSc; Karen G. Lapsley, DSc; Elke A. Trautwein, PhD;
Robert G. Josse, MB, BS; Lawrence A. Leiter, MD;
Philip W. Connelly, PhD.