This study was designed to evaluate whether medical nutrition therapy administered by registered dietitians could lead to a beneficial clinical and cost outcome in men with hypercholesterolemia. Ninety-five subjects participating in a cholesterol-lowering drug study took part in an 8-week nutrition intervention program before initiating treatment with a cholesterol-lowering medication, Patient records were reviewed via a retrospective chart review to determine plasma lipid levels at the beginning and end of the program and the number and length of sessions with a dietitian. Complete information was available for 74 subjects aged 60.8 n+/- 9.8 years (mean +/- SD). Medical nutrition therapy lowered total serum cholesterol levels 13% (P < .001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) 15% (P < .0001), triglyceride 11% (P < .05), and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) 4% (P < .05). Total dietitian intervention time was 144 +/- 21 minutes (range = 120 to 180 minutes) in 2.8 +/- 0.7 sessions (range = 2 to 4) during 6.81 +/- 0.7 weeks of medical nutrition therapy (range = 6 to 8 weeks). Analysis of covariance was conducted to examine whether mean change in LDL-C differed by number of dietitian visits. Results showed a marginal difference between the number of dietitian visits and change in LDL-C (f = 2.6, P < .084). However, the magnitude of LDL-C reduction was significantly higher with 4 dietitian visits (180 minutes) than with 2 visits (120 minutes) (21.9% vs 12.1%; P = .027). Lipid drug eligibility was obviated in 34 of 67 (51%) subjects per the National Cholesterol Treatment Program guidelines algorithm. The estimated annualized cost savings from the avoidance of lipid medications was $60,561.68. Therefore, we conclude that 3 or 4 individualized dietitian visits of 50 minutes each over 7 weeks are associated with a significant serum cholesterol reduction and a savings of health care dollars.