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Plant-Based Diet Lowers Cholesterol PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 17 March 2005 13:57

Plant-Based Diet Lowers CholesterolThe Stanford School of Medicine recently published results from a study into the effectiveness of a plant-based diet on lowering cholesterol levels. The results could produce a shift in nutritional thinking. The four-week study followed 120 adults ranging in age from 30 to 65 years of age with moderately high levels of cholesterol. The participants were placed into two groups: one group ate a diet low in fat and the other group consumed a diet low in fat but with considerably more vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Both diets were designed to be identical in fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, and cholesterol intake. At the conclusion of the study, the group who consumed the grains and vegetables experienced a significantly greater reduction in cholesterol levels than did the group who followed the low-fat diet. Since previous research focused on diets avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol, the researchers are hopeful that the addition of plant-based foods will begin to be recognized as an effective tool for lowering cholesterol.

Even though this study on plant-based diets and cholesterol lowering showed more reduction of cholesterol levels from the addition of more healthy plant foods, the diet-style documented in the medical literature to be the most effective at lowering cholesterol is the vegetable-based diet-style I recommend consistent with the long history of the NHA and promoted by our practitioners. An article published in the medical journal, Metabolism, reported LDL cholesterol dropped 33 percent in 6 weeks; that is twice as much LDL cholesterol lowering as compared to a more typical (healthy, but grain-based) vegetarian diet and the most cholesterol lowering by diet alone ever recorded in a medical study.

Gardner C, Coulston A, Chatterjee L, et al. The effect of a plant-based diet on plasma lipids in hypercholesterolemic adults. Annal Int Med. 2005; 142(9): 725-733.
(Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503


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