Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diet As Good As Drug For Lowering Cholesterol, Says Study

Date:
July 23, 2003
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital have shown that a vegetarian diet composed of specific plant foods can lower cholesterol as effectively as a drug treatment.

Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital have shown that a vegetarian diet composed of specific plant foods can lower cholesterol as effectively as a drug treatment.

The study, published in the July 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared a diet of known cholesterol-lowering, vegetarian foods to a standard cholesterol-reducing drug called lovastatin. The special diet lowered levels of LDL cholesterol - the "bad" cholesterol known to cause clogging in coronary arteries - in subjects by almost 29 per cent, compared to a 30.9 per cent decrease in the lovastatin subjects. The special diet combined nuts (almonds), soy proteins, viscous fibre (high-fibre) foods such as oats and barely and a special margarine with plant sterols (found in leafy green vegetables and vegetable oils).

Lead author David Jenkins, a professor in U of T's Department of Nutritional Sciences and director of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael's Hospital, believes the reason these foods work so well to reduce cholesterol is that humans may be evolutionarily adapted to what has been called the "ape diet," a diet very high in fibre, nuts, vegetable proteins and plant sterols.

He adds the study could have far-reaching implications for public health. "As we age, we tend to get raised cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease. This study shows that people now have a dietary alternative to drugs to control their cholesterol, at least initially." Jenkins notes the diet can also be used to maintain normal cholesterol levels.

In this month-long study, a follow-up to one released December 2002, 46 men and women with raised cholesterol were randomly assigned to one of three vegetarian diet groups. The control group ate meals low in saturated fats (such as those found in animal products like beef and butter). The second group had the same low fat diet, plus a daily 20 mg treatment of lovastatin. The last group had a diet high in four foods known to have cholesterol-lowering properties. This special diet, designed to be easy to prepare and eat, included foods such as oat bran bread and cereal, soy drinks, fruit and soy deli slices. A typical dinner for people on the special diet was tofu bake with eggplant, onions and sweet peppers, pearled barley and vegetables.

"The Food and Drug Administration has approved these cholesterol-lowering foods as having legitimate health claims for heart disease risk reduction," says Jenkins, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Vascular and Metabolic Biology. "They're also being recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program as foods that should be incorporated into the diet. And we have now proven that these foods have an almost identical effect on lowering cholesterol as the original cholesterol-reducing drugs." Jenkins points out that large numbers of people with high cholesterol are being put on medication before they are able to give diet an adequate trial. He adds that while many people may still require drugs to lower their cholesterol, his team has demonstrated an effective alternative for those who are prepared to control their food choices.

The study received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chair program, the Almond Board of California, Loblaws Brands Ltd., Yves Fine Foods (now Hain-Celestial Group) and Unilever Canada. Other Department of Nutritional Sciences researchers participating in the study included research associate Cyril Kendall, graduate students Augustine Marchie and Azadeh Emam, technician George Koumbridis, and research dieticians (also of St. Michael's Hospital) Russell de Souza, Julia Wong, Dorothea Faulkner and Tina Parker. The research team also included Professors Robert Josse, Lawrence Leiter and Philip Connelly of the Faculty of Medicine and St. Michael's Hospital; statistical consultant Edward Vidgen; Elke Trautwein of Unilever R&D, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands; and Karen Lapsley of the Almond Board of California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Diet As Good As Drug For Lowering Cholesterol, Says Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030723083739.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2003, July 23). Diet As Good As Drug For Lowering Cholesterol, Says Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030723083739.htm
University Of Toronto. "Diet As Good As Drug For Lowering Cholesterol, Says Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030723083739.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins