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Fibre, Soy, Vegetables Effective As Statins

News Release

Thursday 2 June

Fibre, Soy and Vegetables Effective As Statins in Lowering Cholesterol

A diet rich in fibre, soy and vegetables may be as effective as taking a first generation statin to lower cholesterol, according to recent research.*

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the cholesterol lowering potential of a diet of functional foods (ie foods recognized for their cholesterol lowering properties), with that of a statin.

The methodology focused on the same group of 36 participants who underwent three one-month treatment periods.

For the first period they followed a conventional low saturated fat diet (control diet), in the second month they ate the same diet plus 20mg of lovastatin (statin diet) and finally they followed a diet high in plant sterols, soy protein foods (including soy milks and soy burgers) almonds, oats, barley, psyllium and the vegetables okra and eggplant (portfolio diet.)

The results showed that LDL cholesterol concentrations for the control, statin and portfolio diets decreased by 8.5%, 33.3% and 29.6% respectively.

It concluded that the statin and portfolio diets did not differ significantly in their ability to reduce LDL cholesterol and achieve current lipid goals for primary prevention.

The four dietary components of the diet rich in functional foods – viscous fibre, soy protein, plant sterols and almonds are known for their cholesterol lowering properties, and when eaten in combination were each thought to contribute 4 - 7% to the overall cholesterol reduction observed in the study.

The research concludes that adopting a diet rich in functional foods may be particularly useful for people who are at relatively low risk, have elevated cholesterol concentrations, are consuming a low saturated fat diet and are not a high priority for statin treatment.


* “Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2005

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