January 28, 2022 — What if you could lower your cholesterol by eating the foods you love?
A new study shows that when people were asked to eat “hedonically acceptable” snacks containing ingredients known to lower cholesterol, nearly all did.
In contrast, only about half of people who were asked to significantly change their diet to lower cholesterol followed the diet in a previous study.
No type of diet lowers “bad” cholesterol as much as statins, but special ingredients in tasty snacks “can quickly and significantly lower LDL cholesterol in adult patients who can’t or won’t take statins.” “, according to the study.
Posted in theNutrition reviewthe trial was carried out by researchers from the Mayo Clinic, the University of Manitoba and the Richardson Center for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals in Canada.
The researchers recruited 59 people to participate in the study, although five of them dropped out. That left 18 men and 36 women, with an average age of 49, who were placed in treatment and control groups.
There were two treatment periods of 4 weeks each, separated by a “washout” period of the same duration. During the treatment phases, participants were asked to eat a variety of ready-to-eat snacks twice a day as a replacement for something they were already eating. Further behavioral changes were discouraged.
People in both groups could choose snacks from six identically packaged and coded products by Step One Foods of Minneapolis, which participated in the study. These foods included oatmeal, pancakes, cranberry bars, chocolate bars, smoothies, and a granola-type offering.
The treatment group received modified versions of these snacks containing ingredients shown to improve heart health. Control products were similar items from grocery stores and supermarkets. For example, the standard store-bought granola served as the study granola control, with the serving size adjusted to have the same number of calories.
Less cholesterol, more compliance
LDL cholesterol was reduced by about 8.8% on average in those who received the modified snacks, and some participants had reductions of 20% or more. Total cholesterol was reduced by an average of 5.1% with the treatment foods, compared to the control snacks. But the concentrations of HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, serum glucose, insulin and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were not significantly different between the control groups.
The Vegan Wallet Diet, which also provides high concentrations of fiber and plants, has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol by 17% when combined with an IDA-approved cholesterol education program. national scale. That said, “because so much of the diet needs to be controlled, user compliance has been poor,” according to the new study.
Specifically, the rate of people adhering to the diet trial was less than 50%, said snack study co-author Stephen L. Kopecky, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. In contrast, the compliance of people in the new study was 95% with the treatment food and 96.5% with the control food.
Statins have a much greater cholesterol lowering effect than any diet. For example, in the snack study treatment group, LDL cholesterol dropped by about one-third of the decrease that can be achieved by taking statins.
Kopecky thinks that people who eat these snacks regularly could further lower their LDL cholesterol levels. But he sees this type of diet as an addition to statins, not a substitute.
The greatest immediate value of this approach, he says, would be to help people who are unwilling or unable to take statins. He estimates that this includes 15 to 20 percent of patients whose cholesterol levels are high enough to merit a statin prescription. With nearly 40% of Americans at risk for heart disease due to high cholesterol, that’s a lot of people.
In the long term, Kopecky hopes the food industry will provide more foods that actually lower cholesterol, rather than just claiming to do so. But food companies follow what the market wants, he says. Americans are unlikely to eat more healthy foods than they do now; in fact, they get 57% of their calories from ultra-processed foods like frozen dinners and potato chips. So maybe changing the content but not the taste of some of these foods would have a positive effect, he suggests.
“If the food industry follows this lead and people start eating these foods, and you could lower cholesterol by 10% across the country, that would have huge health implications,” he said. declared.