Food combinations for cholesterol lowering

Nutr Res Rev. 2012 Dec;25(2):249-66. doi: 10.1017/S0954422412000170. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Abstract

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 plant 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-based 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 diet 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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Food Preferences
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • MEDLINE
  • Nuts
  • Phytosterols
  • Sitosterols
  • Solubility
  • Soybean Proteins
  • beta-Glucans

Substances

  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Phytosterols
  • Sitosterols
  • Soybean Proteins
  • beta-Glucans