A vegetarian diet high in soluble fibre and low in saturated fats can lower bad cholesterol as effectively as some commonly prescribed drugs, a new study found, suggesting medication-free cholesterol control may be viable for some people. Researchers from the University of Toronto showed that a diet heavy in okra, eggplant, soy proteins, oatmeal and almonds resulted in a 28.6 per cent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels after just one month.
Participants on a low-fat diet and a common cholesterol-lowering drug, lovastatin, showed a 30.9 per-cent reduction in LDL cholesterol in the same period - statistical results that are virtually the same.
The study is a new effort from a team led by Dr. David Jenkins, who earlier brought the world the Garden of Eden diet to devise a regime that lowers cholesterol, appeals to modern taste buds and suits a busy lifestyle.
Jenkins directs the clinical nutrition and risk modification centre at St. Michael's Hospital. Funding came from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Loblaw Brands Ltd., the Almond Board of California and Unilever Canada.
The findings on a test of 46 people, with 16 using the new Jenkins diet, appeared in yesterday's Journal of the American Medical Association.