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Fighting cholesterol healthy diet

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Medical Matters 07/22/03
Fighting High Cholesterol with Healthy Diet

An old strategy may be making a comeback in the fight against high cholesterol. While drugs may be the popular choice among many doctors and patients, a growing number of studies are showing that in many cases a healthy diet can have the same effect.

The latest research of 46 overweight high cholesterol patients finds a diet rich in whole grains, vegetable proteins like soy, nuts, and margerine made from plant sterols lowered cholesterol levels just as well as the drug lovastatin.

Other studies have shown these foods can lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels independently. This is one of the first studies to look at them as a group.

The four week study found patients who followed the cholesterol lowering diet lowered their levels by an average of 29 points, compared to 30 points in the group that combined a low fat diet with lovastatin.

Researchers say they plant to study the effects of the diet over a longer period of time - and to look at whether it can reduce cardiovascular deaths.

This study was conducted by researchers at the university of Toronto. It is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lovastatin is sold under the brand names Altocor and Mevacor. It is manufactured by Merck.

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