High total serum cholesterol and low HDL levels are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease before the age of 65. Currently in older populations their role has not yet been defined. In the elderly a low-cholesterol diet is therefore preferable to pharmacological treatment, in view of the absence of collateral effects. In this study 40 elderly patients with hypercholesterolemia were divided at random into two groups. They were respectively fed their usual diet and a legume-supplemented normal caloric diet for 8 weeks. Total serum cholesterol levels significantly decreased in the latter group from the 2nd week onward.