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Best Diet to Lower Cholesterol

A study from Belgium showed that patients were able to lower their high blood cholesterol levels only 3.5 percent after receiving instructions from their physicians (1). Those doctors didn't know what to teach their patients. With proper instruction on restricting total fat, saturated fat and calories, you should expect to reduce high blood cholesterol levels by at least 30 percent (2).

You lower cholesterol by replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat and by restricting refined carbohydrates found in bakery products, pastas and sugar-added foods and drinks. Many doctors think that it takes months for a cholesterol-lowering diet to work, but a study from New Zealand confirms many others, to show that it takes only two weeks for a diet to give you maximum cholesterol lowering (3).

If you have a high cholesterol, go on a diet that restricts saturated fats in meat and chicken and whole milk products; partially hydrogenated fats in many bakery products, prepared foods and solid oils; and refined carbohydrates in bakery products, pastas, and sugar-added foods. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and beans. You'll find full instructions in my two-week Show Me! Diet. Then ask your doctor to recheck your cholesterol. If it is not normal in two weeks, you may need to take medication.

The best diet to lower cholesterol is the same as one designed to lower blood pressure: see my modified DASH diet. This way of eating is the all-around best for controlling cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure and weight.

1) E Muls, G Vansant.Clinical approaches to healthier diet modifications.Acta Cardiologica, 1999, Vol 54, Iss 3, pp 159-161. Record 5 of 60.

2) MB Katan.Cholesterol lowering by diet: what can be achieved? Acta Cardiologica, 1999, Vol 54, Iss 3, pp 151-154.

3) Maximal response to a plasma cholesterol-lowering diet is achieved within two weeks. Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 2002, Vol 12, Iss 5, pp 291-295. L Hodson, CM Skeaff, JE McKenzie. Skeaff CM, Univ Otago, Dept Human Nutr, POB 56, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND

Checked 11/8/12

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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