Cholesterol-lowering foods may be more effective when consumed as combinations rather than as single foods.
Our aims were to determine the effectiveness of consuming a combination of cholesterol-lowering foods (dietary portfolio) under real-world conditions and to compare these results with published data from the same participants who had undergone 4-wk metabolic studies to compare the same dietary portfolio with the effects of a statin.
For 12 mo, 66 hyperlipidemic participants were prescribed diets high in plant sterols (1.0 g/1000 kcal), soy protein (22.5 g/1000 kcal), viscous fibers (10 g/1000 kcal), and almonds (23 g/1000 kcal). Fifty-five participants completed the 1-y study. The 1-y data were also compared with published results on 29 of the participants who had also undergone separate 1-mo metabolic trials of a diet and a statin.
At 3 mo and 1 y, mean (+/-SE) LDL-cholesterol reductions appeared stable at 14.0 +/- 1.6% (P < 0.001) and 12.8 +/- 2.0% (P < 0.001), respectively (n = 66). These reductions were less than those observed after the 1-mo metabolic diet and statin trials. Nevertheless, 31.8% of the participants (n = 21 of 66) had LDL-cholesterol reductions of >20% at 1 y (x +/- SE: -29.7 +/- 1.6%). The LDL-cholesterol reductions in this group were not significantly different from those seen after their respective metabolically controlled portfolio or statin treatments. A correlation was found between total dietary adherence and LDL-cholesterol change (r = -0.42, P < 0.001). Only 2 of the 26 participants with <55% compliance achieved LDL-cholesterol reductions >20% at 1 y.
More than 30% of motivated participants who ate the dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods under real-world conditions were able to lower LDL-cholesterol concentrations >20%, which was not significantly different from their response to a first-generation statin taken under metabolically controlled conditions.