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Low fat Plant diet lowers cholestrol more

08:04 AEST Tue May 3 2005 AAP A low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans has twice the cholesterol. lowering power of a conventional low-fat diet - even when the two diets have the same amount of calories and fat.

Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers say the study suggests that low-fat diets may often fail to lower cholesterol because they contain the wrong nutrients.

Christopher Gardner of Stanford University, who led the study, says of the volunteers, 61 ate a conventional low-fat diet, including frozen waffles, turkey bologna sandwiches, frozen pizza and similar foods.

The other 59 ate a plant-based diet including whole-grain cereals, dark lettuces, bean burritos and vegetable soups.

Both diets contained identical amounts of total and saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate and cholesterol and calories were carefully controlled to keep each volunteers' weight constant.

After a month of eating it was found that both groups had lower cholesterol, but the conventional diet lowered LDL cholesterol by, on average, 4.6 per cent, while the plant-based diet lowered LDL by more than twice as much, or 9.4 per cent.

Food combinations for cholesterol lowering.

Reducing elevated LDL-cholesterol is a key public health challenge. There is substantial evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCT) that a number of foods and food components can significantly reduce LDL-cholesterol. Data from RCT have been reviewed to determine whether effects are additive when two or more of these components are consumed together. Typically components, such as stanols and sterols, soya protein, β-glucans and tree nuts, when consumed individually at their target rate, reduce LDL-cholesterol by 3-9 %. Improved dietary fat quality, achieved by replacing SFA with unsaturated fat, reduces LDL-cholesterol and can increase HDL-cholesterol, further improving blood lipid profile. It appears that the effect of combining these interventions is largely additive; however, compliance with multiple changes may reduce over time. Food combinations used in ten 'portfolio diet' studies have been reviewed. In clinical efficacy studies of about 1 month where all foods were provided, LDL-cholesterol is reduced by 22-30 %, whereas in community- studies of >6 months' duration, where dietary advice is the basis of the intervention, reduction in LDL-cholesterol is about 15 %. Inclusion of MUFA into 'portfolio diets' increases HDL-cholesterol, in addition to LDL-cholesterol effects. Compliance with some of these dietary changes can be achieved more easily compared with others. By careful food component selection, appropriate to the individual, the effect of including only two components in the with good compliance could be a sustainable 10 % reduction in LDL-cholesterol; this is sufficient to make a substantial impact on cholesterol management and reduce the need for pharmaceutical intervention. Whole-grain cereals, dark lettuces, bean burritos and vegetable soups.