Saturday, May 07, 2005

Vegetarian diet beats low fat diet for low cholesterol cholesterol.

Low-fat, veggie-based diet lowers high cholesterol - Healthypages news: "Low-fat, veggie-based diet lowers high cholesterol

Though low-fat diets have long been advocated for lowering high cholesterol levels, a study published Monday points up the importance of replacing fatty foods with nutritious fare -- not fat-free cookies and chips.

In a comparison of two low-fat diets -- one plant-based and one packed with the convenience foods typical of the American diet -- researchers found that the plant-based menu lead to greater reductions in study participants' LDL cholesterol, the 'bad' form of cholesterol linked to cardiovascular disease.

After four weeks, the 59 men and women who followed the vegetarian-style diet saw their total cholesterol fall by an average of 18 points (that is, milligrams per deciliter of blood) and their LDL drop by 14. That compared with 9 and 7 points, respectively, among 61 adults on the comparison diet.

According to the researchers, the findings underscore what experts now generally believe about traditional dietary advice for cutting cholesterol: the directive to go low-fat was overly simplistic.

It's thought that the advice led many people to opt for reduced-fat processed foods, but not the fruits, vegetables and whole grains that can help lower cholesterol, according to lead study author Dr. Christopher D. Gardner of Stanford University in California.

The simple avoid-fat message, he noted in an interview with Reuters Health, has been changing in recent years to instead advise people on what foods to favor -- including fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains.

And these latest findings support that move, Gardner and his colleagues report in the March 3rd issue of the Annals of Internal"

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