Dietary intake of cholesterol has been linked to coronary heart disease. The effect of grapefruit pectin (Citrus paradisi) on plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the low-density lipoprotein:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio was studied. The study design was a 16-week double-blind, crossover (placebo or pectin) using 27 human volunteers screened to be at medium to high risk for coronary heart disease due to hypercholesterolemia. The study did not interfere with the subjects' current diet or lifestyle. Grapefruit pectin supplementation decreased plasma cholesterol 7.6%, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol 10.8%, and the low-density lipoprotein:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio 9.8%. The other plasma lipid fractions studied showed no significant differences. We conclude that a grapefruit pectin-supplemented diet, without change in lifestyle, can significantly reduce plasma cholesterol.