Bran, soy help cut cholesterol
August 23rd, 2011
05:13 PM ET

Bran, soy help cut cholesterol

Editor's note: Tune in as Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores the signs, tests and lifestyle changes that could make cardiac problems a thing of the past on "The Last Heart Attack," Saturday, August 27, 8 and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

Researchers in Canada have shown that a special cholesterol-lowering diet works well – even with only two nutritional counseling sessions over six months.

Making dietary changes like eating oat bran for breakfast, drinking soy milk instead of dairy, soy burgers in place of hamburgers, and fruit and nuts instead of a full lunch prompted a double-digit drop in both total cholesterol and LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lead author Dr. David Jenkins, Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital, had previously shown the effectiveness of a cholesterol-lowering diet when all the meals were provided to participants.

"The question one had to address was how does this play out with people in the real world," Jenkins said in a telephone interview.

To put the diet to the real-world test, participants received a one-hour counseling session with a dietitian and an illustrated study booklet at the outset and, later, received a 30-40 minute follow up session.

"It was just advice," Jenkins said. Even so, the results were dramatic.

Total cholesterol dropped from 256 to 230, while the LDL or "bad" cholesterol decreased from 173 to 148, according to the study.

Jenkins said participants achieved  these results even though compliance to the whole grain, vegetarian diet was only about 40%.

In addition to the soy protein, nuts and whole grains, participants in the diet were encouraged to eat peas, beans and lentils.

A control group advised to eat a vegetarian, low-saturated diet but not with the cholesterol-lowering foods a saw a slight dip in total cholesterol, from 249 to 246, and in LDL, from 167 to 161.

Both groups lost  about four pounds over the six months.

The 351 participants in the study suffered from high cholesterol but were not on a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. The study was conducted from June 2007 to February 2009 at academic centers in Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver.

Follow CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. wendy5

    well what was the diet; oh i get go buy the book; waste of reading the article

    August 23, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. wendy5

    thanks marla ; maybe you should do the writting for cnn; you are more informitive

    August 23, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. grace

    Reading is never a waste. It is always exercise for your brain. Also, the diet is mentioned in the article. If you want it laid out for you meal by meal then yes, you should buy the book 🙂 Good luck.

    August 23, 2011 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. mary

    duh....it says right in the article the info is published in JAMA-
    free access. use this link. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/306/8/831.short

    August 23, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply

    the dash diet is ideal, but for people with genetically high cholesterol levels meat seems to not be an option as it contains cholesterol ALL OF IT.. animals need cholesterol in their cell membranes, so if you eat it, you are adding more to your system that the liver already produces at night.it sucks im only 27 and have high cholesterol around 267...i take statins...i will have to be vegetarian i HATE IT..plus i cant eat much refined carbs becos that turns to fat which if unburned turns to chol too

    August 23, 2011 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason

      Kristy...much of what you have typed is not accurate.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • KentAZ


      Please do more research. Statins are bad for you and have many deleterious side effects. The standard "high" cholesterol levels are arbitrary and not supported by the evidence. Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Your body needs to ingest cholesterol to aid the liver's process.

      August 24, 2011 at 23:05 | Report abuse |
    • alex

      Check out Mark's Daily Apple dot com and realize how crazy this article is. I lost 35 pounds in a little over 6 months just reading what this guys said.

      August 25, 2011 at 07:49 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Kristy-PLEASE get off of the statins. You are at an almost zero risk for heart attack at your age and statins can have the opposite affect on young women and make things even WORSE.

      August 25, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
  6. EdNV

    148 is still bad, let me know when you get it to 70 without Lipitor.
    More cr@p from Gupta

    August 23, 2011 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • deb

      70 without Lipitor says nothing what is your HDL? mine is 70, also a 70 LDL could mean liver disease, just so you know

      August 25, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
  7. dairyfree

    I love everything but the dairy part. Why dairy Mary?
    Why should we be the only animal in the WORLD to drink another animals milk. It just doesn't make sense.

    August 23, 2011 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      We aren't the only animal in the world to drink another animals milk. Where did you get that idea.

      August 25, 2011 at 05:45 | Report abuse |
  8. Georgia

    As a very fit, 3:14 PR marathon runner...A forty-seven year old female with a degree in nutrition AND a predisposition to familial hypercholesterolimia...NO DIET works. Folks, please be careful with these posts! I can run 100 miles per week, exclude fats to 5 grams a day, go to meditation to reduce stress and still come out with LDL and total CHOL off the charts. Thank God my HDL is good...Running and age/Estrogen.

    I take Red Rice Yeast in lieu of awful statins in form of Lipitor, etc. Horrible side effects! I encourage fish oil/Omega's and Flax...Why was this not in the article???

    And, keep weight off. U.S. struggles with this. Exercise! Wake up an hour early FIVE days per week to run, walk, swim or cycle...Genetics over-ride diet, sorry Dr. Gupta.

    August 23, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Allen

      O.K. if your cholesterol levels are "off the charts" why do I want to follow your advice? First of all, I've been on Liptor for 5 years and never had any side effects. What were the ones you had? Also been on Dr. Esselstyn, Jr. diet (basically a low-fat vegan diet) and never have felt better. Cholesterol has dropped from 280+ to under 150. Yes, same diet Pres. Clinton is on. You should check it out because it does work. Diet CAN dramatically reduce cholesterol and low cholesterol can reduce and even reverse heart disease.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • seriously?

      Just so you know...red yeast rice IS a statin. It is where lovastatin (Mevacor) was discovered.

      August 24, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      You may want to visit Track Your Plaque website. Dr. Davis who is a cardiologist who truly believes in proper diet that can make a big difference. You'd be surprised by what he recommends for the food like cutting out grains entirely esp wheat products. That's when he saw dramatic improvements in his patients.

      August 24, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I totally agree. I am 37 and have been dealing with high cholesterol since 30. I do strength training 2-3 times a week and strenuous cardio for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week, and no matter how well I eat – avoiding cheese, eggs, beef, fatty foods, baked goods, it just goes up and up. Last time without meds it was 270 with an LDL of 191. That's genetics dude. Tried statins and that wasn't fun. But my Dr. put me on Welchol and that knocked the cholesterol down to 206 and LDL to 130 which is better, but still has room for improvement. Diets are probably good for a majority of the population, but some of us have been "blessed" with high cholesterol genes.

      August 25, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Lou-I suffer the same issue as Georgia but can not live without grains. That is just idiocy.

      August 25, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  9. Hunter P

    "High" cholesterol does not necessarily indicate a problem and there's a lot more to cholesterol numbers than simply "my LDL is too high". You have to look at other markers like LDL pattern type and LP(a) and APOB100 and CRP as well as HDL and triglycerides. Ask your doctor for a VAP cholesterol test and do yourself a favor and do the research to find out what all of the results mean. And while you're doing that, you prolly want to look into how there's a ton of research that goes against this half a century old theory that dietary saturated fat and cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Some more recent studies have even shown saturated fat intake to have an inverse association with heart disease indicating that it may actually be protective. Eating low-fat foods and whole grains to lower cholesterol may lower your totol cholesterol but it will also lower your HDL and raise your triglycerides, you don't want this. Eating fat will raise your good cholesterol, and yes it may raise your LDL too, but it will be a "good" type of LDL. These are not controversial statements, unfortunately most people are not educated on this subject and instead succomb to the drug industry and take their statins, which BTW no one knows exactly what those drugs do or how they work, and also give up foods that are actually necessary for good health like animal meats and organs and fats. It's very possible that these diet recommendations our government and the medical industry have been making for decades now without ever having any scientific proof to back them up have actually been making peoples health worse all along. You owe it to yourself, for your own health, to at least look into it. Gary Taubes book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" is a great start if you want to learn how the nutrition recommendations went bad. That's not saying Taubes has all the answers though, there's plenty of info out there. Google "paleo 2.0" for a start!

    August 23, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Agree with everything you are saying about cholesterol, but I am iffy on the dietary recommendations.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  10. Willowspring

    Okay article, great comments.

    August 23, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dancingfrog

    Good comment, Hunter P .. Several yrs. ago I was prescribed a cholestrol lowering drug, but, after I read the side-effects, I tossed out the medication. I did some research, & discovered, all the good things garlic can do for a person. In fact it's called," Mother Nature's penecillian". I invested in some garlic tablets, taking 1 a day, lowering my cholestrol from 233 to 203.
    My doctor told me,"whatever you've been doing, keep doing it." I changed nothing .. my diet or excercise routine. I am very diligent w/my food intake as in *hi-fructose/corn sweetners* don't use or buy, & have totally eliminated "white" from my diet. As in .. sugar, flour, rice, pasta, bread(s). Purchased products are made w/whole wheat or other similar wholesome products .. dark brown sugar, agave syrup, unsulphured molassess, &, home made as much as possible. When I fix meals, I severely limit my use of aluminium, non-stick pans, using either stainless steel, or iron. I also distill my drinking/cooking water, &, drink a couple liters of water every day. I rarely drink soda water, &, only one made w/sugar, &, no high fructose/corn sweetners. Most everything already prepared .. canned, frozen, packaged, contains too much salt, most often MSG, & high fructose/corn sweetners. NOT good for the human body! So, read your labels, people. I do not drink cow's milk, that is for babies. I get calcium from eating yogurt, some cheese .. cheddar, cottage, &/or calcium tablets. I buy/eat organic/frozen, limit red meat (not keen for it anyway), fish, white meat chicken & occassionally the 'other white meat'. A person's cholesterol levels change hourly, drinking a cup of coffee will raise a person's cholesterol levels, so how a physican can get a "true, &, accurate" reading, is beyond me. There are people w/genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. In fact, an entire village in Italy has residents w/high cholesterol, &, they appear to not suffer w/arterial or heart disease. These people have been studied six ways from Sunday, &, last I read, the studies couldn't find why their cholesterol levels are high, &, yet these people are healthy. Be informed people, do your research, make your own informed decissions. For me, side effects outweight benefits. If I can find alternatives to damaging medicines, then I will find/do them. I'm not saying my life-style works for every 'body', medicines do help many people, but, they also hurt, kill many people yearly. One size medicine, does NOT fit ALL. Doctors would be out'a business, if they cured their patients. The human body is designed to cure its self, if given the chance. Staying healthy, is my top priority. Killing the immune system will not make a person well. Keeping the immune system @ it's peak preformance, will keep a person well, &, healthy. It's sad, when the cheap, empty calorie, fattening foods are advertised, &, so readily available. Low income people buy them, making them over weight, &, unhealthy. I can remember when those types of foods used to be expensive, b/c my mom didn't buy a lot of them for that very reason. She was a stickler for a well balanced, nutricious eating life style, &, I passed that on to my children. However, now that they are grown, I have no control over they eating habits.

    August 24, 2011 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bluemoondrop

      I definitely think your long post is worth a read =) Quite a few people on here have mentioned the...demonization of cholesterol, but yours also has some well rounded advice. People also need to remember that their doctors have degrees in one of the most rapidly changing schools of thought, only the very best (and social-life-less) read newly published articles on nutrition. You are your best doctor when it comes to what you put in your body, and with tools like google – there’s no excuse to go into health blindly.

      August 25, 2011 at 00:26 | Report abuse |
    • D

      I agree with some of what you have said here, particularly in regard to cholesterol levels. However, some of your nutritional advice is less than sound. Pork is effectively the same as beef nutritionally, "other white meat" label notwithstanding. Also cheddar cheese has a TON of saturated fat. One more-brown sugar is nutritionally identical to white sugar. Nothing really "natural" about it.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
    • Ra

      Thank you for your post dacingfrog... most informative ! I too have tossed my meds much to my Drs dismay... tossed the Doc too.... he said I had to have meds and healthy eating made no difference. I only have a cholesterol level of 150 and the meds were damaging my liver....

      September 7, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  12. mjh

    if i tell you to jump off a bridge you going to listen

    August 24, 2011 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bobbe503

    Do any of you with degrees in nutrition have any advice? I am a 130lb older lady who was eating very well (I thought) and getting 12 or more hours of exercise a week, all levels normal when I was blindsided by a calcium oxalate kidney stone this summer. The Dr. wants me to cut out many many of the staples I had been eating –almonds, spinach, peanut butter, and more. The food chart he provided is impossible to follow as it lists things I can’t eat, not what I can eat.(Not to mention the internet is full of contradictory eating advice such as this DASH diet claiming to prevent stones and yet recommending some of the very foods the Dr. said not to eat.) What I would like is a list of the foods I can eat! I am so despondent about this life change. I thought I was doing great and now what? Just what the heck can I eat???

    August 24, 2011 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      You need a consultation with a REAL nutritionist. I rely on a lot of those things you mention, too.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse |
  14. Katie

    Forget the word 'diet' which implies it's a short-lived regimen people follow until they reach their goal. People need to change the way they eat permanently. And food alone isn't a magic fix for keeping your cholesterol levels low – people need to exercise too. And keep exercising, not just do it for a short while. Too many people forget the one thing they alone are in charge of is their own body. There are no magic pills, magic foods, or magic formulas. Lose weight. Eat better. Exercise. (I wouldn't eat soy products if you paid me – no mention here of their added estrogen...)

    August 24, 2011 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Vitamin D and fish oil (or flax) are essential. Maybe not magic, but essential.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    I avoid soy at ALL costs – it has been reported that it has traces of estrogen. If you're a guy who wants boobs – avoid soy and soy products! I heard of one guy who used "Silk" (soy product) in place of milk and is now suing the company for the "moobs" he has to get removed.

    Instead of "Silk" (soy product) I sometimes use amond milk – but not always. I had lowered my cholesterol, Blood Pressure, and dibetes risk by going organic, wild-caught fish, free-range eggs & chicken, and grass-fed beef. My doctor, being totally shocked at teh test results has slowly been taking me off the meds as a result. Now I just have to exercise more (when it starts to cool off some this Fall). I do have to contribute this to what Doctor Oz has been saying – best advice ever .. and the cost is free.

    What else got me to go organic is from what the CEO of Chipolte Grill said on TV ... Where do you want to put you money? Food or doctors/meds? Sure, going organic costs more but I feel I am saving in doctor visits and meds ... the choice is yours.

    August 24, 2011 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BostonDoc

      Soy doesn't have "traces of estrogen", it has a plant-based forms of estrogens called "phytoestrogens"...it's not a mystery. It's not from processing, it's a natural element of soy itself. There was a ton of hype about the potential POSITIVE benefits of soy for women because of these phytoestrogens (menopausal symptoms, breast cancer, etc), however all that evidence fell entirely flat – phytoestrogens just isn't human estrogen, and doesn't act like estrogen in the body at all. It's just a similar structure that got scientists excited to no avail. You won't get man boobs from eating/drinking soy. But you will by gaining weight...which most American's do – 1 lb a year on average. Over ten years – there's your moobs.

      August 24, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • SKaye

      And now Chipolte admits they add animal products to their beans (which makes them taste better). I have no issue with that but citing a Chipolte executive as a nutrition expert – I don't think so.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      SKaye, Chipotle never denied having one kind of their beans cooked in bacon. That information has always been available on their website; and if someone has a special diet, it's up to them to find out what they can or cannot eat at a restaurant, it's not up to the restaurant to play babysitter.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • EmptySkull

      No Chinese food for you!

      August 24, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Soy does not necessarily cause moobs. My bf used silk every day and he had no moobs, despite being otherwise overweight he was completely flat in the moob area.

      Also it sounds like you are eating a TON of animal protein.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  16. SHRIKE

    "Making dietary changes like eating oat bran for breakfast, drinking soy milk instead of dairy, soy burgers in place of hamburgers, and fruit and nuts instead of a full lunch"

    None of that sounds like quality of life to me, I'm not a gerbil. If this is what my life has become reduced to eating, I guess i'd rather continue eating steaks and start smoking cigerettes again.

    August 24, 2011 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • truthman

      Hi Shrike , I know how you feel. Soy burgers at first are unapealing. When I started to learn how contaminated the chicken is (its 10% feces that absorbs in it because of the way they soak it ) and most meat in the stores is from deseased animals that were fed chicken litter ( chicken poop ) to up their profits.

      I now enjoy eating more than ever before. Its a transition, that takes a while. I look better. I can take my shirt off without embarresment, cause I'm 60 lbs less. Its a change of mindset. and I repeat, I Love Food More Now

      August 24, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Soy hot dogs ('not dogs') are way worse. I don't know how anyone can stomach that stuff. A nice lean hamburger is just fine if you don't have one every day, just don't go nuts with bacon and cheese and mayo.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
    • D

      @Katie-no, a hamburger isn't really okay. Maybe once every 6 months or a year. I still avoid the cheese too.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
    • D

      @SHRIKE -The part I didn't like was only dried fruits and nuts for lunch. Not good enough to function unless I ate a TON of them.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
  17. Scott

    Even though I am not on the DASH diet – diet DOES have an affect. I've gone organic and seen results. I also cut out added salt and can goods. Other than that, I hadn't changed my diet. Now I just have to cut back on the portions and exercise.

    August 24, 2011 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. wayne

    Will the medical field be the last to know that the lipid hypothesis orginated by Ancel Keys came from either bad science or deliberate fraud?
    Cholesterol plays vital functions in a healthy metabolism. High cholesterol numbers might mean that your body is fighting infection or cancer or other invaders. High cholesterol don't cause problems, problems may cause high cholesterol.
    Studies have shown that people with hight cholesterol live longer.

    August 24, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momof3

      Sing it. So very true.

      August 24, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Yes-totally agree. It is almost like a conspiracy.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  19. DaveinGeorgia

    Yea I see the same thing... fruits, vegetables, brans, oats, etc. Nothing new to me. I would eat a balanced food (hamburger and vegetables). We should not be too worried about our health, but just listen to our body's need (feeling full and then stop eating, etc.) Use your common sense!

    August 24, 2011 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Not so simple when you have a doctor harassing you to take statins.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
  20. SoulCatcher

    Were all doomed no matter what we eat. Should we all spend lots of extra money on all this diet advice which could be all snake oil or can we save a lot in our 401Ks and watch the stock market tank again and again. Our retirement plans won't be enough for our retirement if we live past 80 so, I'll go with dogbert's advice: eat more bacon.

    What me worry?

    August 24, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. NYCitizen

    I'd rather end up dying with a smile on my face so, can you please fill my plate with another bacon cheddar cheese burger while I go get my fourth beer....damn, where did my cigarette lighter go?

    August 24, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JB

      For that smile, you have to be healthy first. If you really make fun of this, you don't have business on this page.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Fruits and vegetables are really not THAT BAD. Also, you could have an incapacitating stroke, and that wouldn't be much fun, would it?

      August 25, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  22. SKaye

    OMG – this "point-counterpoint" (for those of you old enough to remember that tv segment) is ridiculous. The article is simply reporting on ONE scientific study (by the way, when did OAT BRAN – yuck- make a comeback – it tasted awful when first promoted for lowering cholesterol).

    For each research study, there is or will be another study to contradict it. And for those expressing opinions above, glad what you are doing is "working" for you but from a scientific standpoint there is no conclusive research to support many of the "cures" cited by commenters.

    Find what works for you but don't pretend to have all of the answers.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. JB

    Cholesterol is not the only concerned. Body do need cholesterol for biological function. The main culprit is Saturate, Trans fats. Reduce their intake, I am not saying that cut Saturate fat but one must limit saturated fat. Trans fat is an artificial fat, your body does not know how to handle. So you better stay away from Transfat.
    Eat lots fruits( whole ) not juices
    Limit simple carbs
    Take whole grains, nuts etc
    Drink plenty of water ( 14-16 glasses)
    Your diet should have 80% veg+ 20% meat/dairy etc
    Daily half an hour fast walking.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trazey

      14 – 16 glasses of water?? are you insane? people do NOT need that much water! We get a lot of liquid from the fruits & veg we eat, as well as other liquids. 8 is plenty.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  24. aginghippy

    Hunter P,
    Thank you for being the voice of reason in this discussion! I read Taubes' book, as well as a great book by Dwight Lundell called "The Cure for Heart Disease". The cholesterol myth is so pervasive that I fear we will lose millions more, not only from heart disease, but also Type II diabetes, before the medical community finally admits that they have been giving us bad advice for decades.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. NYCitizen

    JB: Stuff it tight butt

    August 24, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Dirk Waldon

    My grand parents and older relatives lived beyond 80 years old. My great grand mother was borned January 1865 and she died February 1969 with out this health scare crap. They all ate farm raised food without chemicals and additives; went to bed early and woke up at the crack of dawn. Limit their intake of today's mass media and no telephones.

    After 80 years of life nature should take its course anyways. Why should we consume resources that the younger generation needs to continue this 'game of life. It's all a sham to keep these damn doctors and drug companies richer and the younger family members poorer taking care of 'Nursing Facilities that warehouse people forever.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Drugs have helped keep both of my parents independent and active into their mid-80s. I am grateful for that at least.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse |
  27. pete

    Chipotle brown beans have bacon added, black beans not..........eat plants not flesh, plants get their energy from the sun and the earth............same as you

    August 24, 2011 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      Humans are omnivores. Denying your physiological makeup does not CHANGE your physiological makeup.

      P.S. Plants "eat" animals. Where do you think nutrients in the soil come from? Why do you think you can go to the garden center and buy blood meal and bone meal?

      August 24, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • numbnut

      To abbyful, humans are primates, and primates eat a vegetarian/fruit based diet with a sprinkling of meat protein. Some primates do not eat any meat, so the "omnivore" theory does not pertain (In my opinion).

      August 24, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      Oops, I accidently added a new post instead of a reply. See my comment below about our SPECIES, not our Order, dictating our diet.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  28. Kendo

    The MAIN source of SOY is the clear cut Brazilian Rain Forest. SOY should be banned, not promoted.

    August 24, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tommyboy

      It's also toxic and extremely damaging to the body. No credible health professional would even think of recommending it. let's not even get into the Roundup tolerant genetically modified soy...


      August 25, 2011 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
  29. abbyful

    Grains are nutrient-poor foods and don't have anything you can't get elsewhere.
    Soy is something I do my best to AVOID, it has far more negatives to it than positives.

    I eat real food; stuff that comes mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, full-fat dairy products, eggs, real butter, olive oil, etc. I do eat some grain, but not nearly at the amounts that are "recommended".

    I don't now and I have never had "bad cholesterol" levels.
    But my HDL has significantly increased after I quit eating tons of grains (whole grains) and selecting low-fat everything; things that we are told to do in order to have a healthy diet.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • EmptySkull

      I simple do not see how grains can be a problem when most asians eat rice everyday and they're, generally speaking, less obese than Americans.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      The obesity comes from eating too much food and too much empty calorie high carb food. Asians eat a LOT more vegetables than Americans do, and their daily rice probably doesn't come near to amount of 'grains' most Americans put away in a day.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • EmptySkull

      For most Asians, at least half of a typical meal is either rice or grain-based noodles. The amount of grain "intake" is not insignificant.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      Grains were never meant to be eaten by humans, they were meant to pass through us intact and land in a nice pile of fertilizer.
      Grains have anti-nutrient and inflammatory properties.
      Our high-grain diet in the USA displaces the room in our stomachs for more nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables/fruit and meat/fish.
      Grain-based carbs are very easy to over-eat on. It's much easier to eat 2-3 big bowls of pasta, versus trying to eat 2-3 steaks.
      More: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/

      August 24, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  30. Trazey

    to @dairyfree up there, asking why we're the only animal that drinks milk - we're also the only animals who can DRIVE right? LOL and have opposable thumbs and a brain that can figure stuff out - we drink it because we CAN, and it's yummy 😀

    August 24, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lydia

      That's a pretty irrelevant response. We're the only animal that professes to believe in morals too. What does that have to do with physiology? Nothing. The fact that we drink milk that was meant to make baby cow's FAT is disgusting when you break it down, period.

      August 24, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • Brolan

      With all the contradictory advice on this page I think I will just go on eating whatever I want, and not worry about it.

      August 24, 2011 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
  31. numbnut

    Every time I see Dr. Gupta's name on anything, I say to myself, "Uh-oh". Toxic eating is a hard habit to break, but it can be done if you're opened to it. Dr, Joel Fuhrman's book, Eat to Live, is excellent at explaining his theory on a nurtirent-rich way of eating. He is backed by Dr. Oz.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. abbyful

    Being "primates", which is our Order, has little to do with it. Our SPECIES, on the other hand, does. In fact, not a single species in our genus have been herbivores, all have been omnivores.

    In fact, we cannot even get all our required nutrients for life from a strictly plant diet, which is why vegans have to supplement their diets with fortified foods, pills, and/or injections.

    By your logic, iguanas and rat snakes would eat the same diet since they are in the same Order. (In case you didn't know, iguanas eat plants and rat snakes eat rodents & birds.)

    August 24, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • numbnut

      This is not rocket science. We all know that eating animal protein is not good for you. There are plenty of veggies out there that have pack more nutrients per ounce than a slab of beef. Kale, spinach, legumes, seeds and nuts. Eating large amounts of the right foods brings you excellent health. But hey, if you want to eat decaying flesh, be my guest.

      August 24, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • lydia

      UM, wrong. We are most closely related to primates. Chimpanzees are herbivores.

      August 24, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      Eating animal protein IS good for you. What we've done to some of the animal protein available (growth hormones, routine antibiotics, processing into hotdogs and lunch meat, etc) isn't good; but eating pastured livestock, wild game, and fish are all very healthy options.

      Put a peice of meat/fish on your plate and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. Have fruit for dessert if you're craving something sweet.

      If you want to talk about things humans are NOT meant to eat, grains and soy would be top of the list.

      Many doctors have even quit recommending rice cereal as baby's first food. Now it's split between starting baby on vegetables or meat as a first food.
      My OB/GYN has even told me that especially while TTC & pregnant, reduce grain consumption because it is nutrient-poor, and eat plenty of meat and fish.

      Suggested reading for you:
      "Protein Power" by Michael Eades MD & Mary Eades MD
      "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain PhD
      "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price DDS
      "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig PhD
      "Real Food" by Nina Planck

      August 24, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      lydia, we are related to chimps because we are in the same Order, just like iguanas and rat snakes are in the same order. Just because we are related does not mean we have the same dietary requirements.

      August 24, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      And lydia, chimps are not herbivores, they are omnivores. http://www.chimphaven.org/chimps-facts.cfm

      August 24, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
    • EmptySkull

      I want to know how did humans evolve to have a basic sense of taste for umami if we're supposed to be herbivores?

      August 24, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Lydia – chimps are omnivores. They eat bugs and will eat meat if it's available to them.

      August 24, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
  33. KentAZ

    Hunter, thanks for that. You saved me some typing. I was a low-fat, cholesterol hypothesis advocate for years. But the evidence against such, and that carbs are the real problem, eventually became too overwhelming to ignore. I embraced a restricted carb diet and lost 5 inches off my waist in two months without any increase in exercise. And I feel great.

    One wonders how long it will take the media and the medical community to recognize and acknowledge the evidence concerning diet and health. Articles such as this one remain pervasive and the USDA Food Pyramid (which should be inverted) is still viewed by many as the standard.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Dan Ari

    Without a confidence interval, the results are meaningless. I'll flip a dime and a quarter four times each. If the dime is heads twice and the quarter is heads once, that doesn't mean that a dime is 2 times as likely to come up heads. This is junk reporting.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Schae

    How about reducing portion sizes? I started using a smaller plate for my meals and I've lost 8 pounds in the last month. I'm surprised no one even has mentioned that.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      Because reducing intake almost never ever works in the long run. Eventually you will realize that the constant hunger is hard to bare and your metabolism has slowed down and even though you are eating less you will see the weight start to creep higher and higher. The cure for the constant hunger is to eat your normal portions but now your metabolism is almost at its lowest so that not only do you gain back the original weight, you gain even more.

      August 24, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Composition of what you are eating is more important, I think.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
  36. Hutch

    I was on a diet like this and loved it. The problem is that it caused me to develop kidney stones that were formed by calcium oxilates that are found in soy, spinach, oatmeal, bran, etc. I had to cut way back on my soy consumption and tea. Adjusting my diet has been hard since then.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. WellnessDrive

    Discipline. Yes, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising regularly and taking the right supplements can all contribute to promoting cardiovascular health. It's well worth the effort. 🙂

    And if you are having difficulty or your cholesterol is way too high, then do what I did. Use the Heart Health System (without any side effects) from WellnessDrive.com and you will see results. My Dr. was impressed that I was able to get back to "normal" without using his drugs. 🙂

    Heart Health System contains the highest quality Omega III Fish Oil as 1 of 3 products. It really works.

    Hey, at the very least, find some good quality Omega III and eat more fish.

    August 24, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jason

    Whatever...go paleo/primal and screw everything else

    August 24, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. HBar

    The diet successfully lowered cholesterol numbers, but the numbers were still high. Effective treatments for high cholesterol cannot be based on diet alone. That much is demonstrated repeatedly in these studies, but it's almost never acknowledged.

    August 24, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      Cholesterol is needed for good health. The lipid hypothesis is nonsense.

      August 24, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • Lou


      Visit Track Your Plaque website and you will see why.

      August 24, 2011 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      Went to Track Your Plaque and it does not support the lipid hypothesis. Cholesterol is needed for good health.

      August 25, 2011 at 05:43 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Do not buy these arbitrary levels that are being pushed on us! The cholesterol levels of people having heart attacks are the same as those who never had a heart attack.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
  40. Carlos Monteiro

    The native LDL is not the bad cholesterol. It indicates to be a problem when it is oxidated. For more information about this concept please see the article "Is it LDL cholesterol unquestionably and unequivocally a causal risk factor for myocardial infarction?, by Dr. David Diamond, researcher, scientist and professor from the University of South Florida, published in August 15, 2011 in New Evidences about The Acidity Theory of Atherosclerosis at http://www.aciditytheory.blogspot.com

    August 24, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Zee

    The fact that Doctors, nutritionists, and health advocates have to understand that EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.
    You have to do the work, do the research and try things for yourself.
    No pills, Dr prescribed or purchased from 'Wanda's House of Herbs' is going to magically make you lose weight.
    I get this now. I'm 42 and have Diabetes. I'm overweight. 'Diets' have never worked for me. 'Normal' diabetes treatments do not work for me. I've had to get this through my head, and now get it through my Doctor's head that the answer is not always a straight line.
    I want to lose weight and would like to lose enough to get my Diabetes 100% under control. I've found there is no easy answer. For those of you who have found yours, FANTASTIC! For those who have not, don't give up. It's a evolving life change.
    After trying to go gonzo on this plan or that plan, where I'd lose weight and then gain it back I finally decided to do this for myself.
    I did read a book on the Glycemic Index and learned some things. What foods to minimize and what to avoid at all costs.

    It comes down to: If it tastes good, don't eat it. If you'd rather not eat it, it's probably the stuff you should eat.
    But, I'm human and weak, and know this, so instead of ripping the enjoyment of eating completely out of my life, I started making slow changes.
    Vegan is a no-go for me. I like meat, and I eat mostly farm raised meat that I know about.
    Can't stand fish for the most part, no matter how good it is for me, I just cannot stomach it without a 1/2 gallon of tarter sauce, so I don't eat a lot of it (but I am making myself try items and I've found a few that aren't half bad)

    What I did do:

    NO FAST FOOD. No exceptions. If I am going to 'cheat' any fast food counts. No healthy fast foods. Too much junk in it.

    6 months ago I stopped eating virtually all added sugar. Some items have small amounts you just can't get away from, others you can. (SUPRISE! Ketchup is full of bad stuff! I switched to Mustard)

    My family owns a farm, so I get goodies in the fall to can or freeze. Meats that I know are healthy and veggies that have only had what they needed to survive applied to them.

    100% stone ground whole grain breads when I eat them.
    No potatoes and little rice (OUCH!)

    But I'll still eat stuff that I do love. I've lost about 35 pounds since I started this experiment, and will be having blood draws soon, so hopefully I'll see other improvements.

    The other thing is, choose your Doctor wisely. Find one that treats people not symptoms.
    I've never liked Doctors that push drugs first and ask questions later. Osteopathic Doctors treat the whole person, and mine has always tried other things were possible and prescribing only as a last measure.

    Good Luck!

    August 24, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      Grains (grass seed) is not meant for human consumption and stay away from fruit. Try eating more fat. Nothing satiates like good animal fat and your body needs it.

      August 24, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Some fish is essentially flavorless (like cod, flounder, etc.) You could be a lot more creative in your fish preparations and still have a good tasting meal.

      August 25, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
  42. Lou

    Paleo works better according to Dr. Staffan Lindeberg's studies. Anyway, I see DASH consist 6-12 pieces of grains. I bet you have never used NMR choesterol test. People who are very sensitive to grain based food or other carbohydrate sources will produce high blood sugar level which raises SMALL dense LDL which is not accurately measured by traditional calculated cholesterol test that most doctors use so it tend to produce lower number than it really was. Anyone that is not very sensitive to carbohydrate that doesn't cause sugar blood level to skyrocket tend to have mostly harmless large fluffy LDL type. Dr. Willam Davis from Track Your Plaque (and author of Wheat Belly book) often saw that and encouraged his patients to completely cut out all grain based products and watch their carbohydrate intake and their cholesterol numbers got significantly better using NMR test.

    Another thing that most people are not aware is that saturated fat ironically increases HDL level which gives you more protection from heart disease.

    August 24, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Lou

    Can anyone find a random controlled study that prove conclusively that oatmeal and other grains help improve heart disease? I ask this because I can't find a single study on pubmed at all. Something smells fishy...

    August 24, 2011 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeffinIL

      Eat more fish. It's good for you.

      August 24, 2011 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  44. robert

    You got yourself a nice free advertisement. People please stick to serious research such as "The China Study" and Dr. Fuhrman diet plan. Don't listen to anybody that is in the business for money. Be smart.

    August 24, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • wayne

      robert, the China Study has been thoroghly debunked. It is bad science or fraud. Hard to tell which it is.

      August 25, 2011 at 06:25 | Report abuse |
    • wayne

      The China Study has faulty conclusions and has been completely debunked. The diet may lower your cholesterol but do you really want to do that. People with higher cholesterol live longer.

      August 25, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  45. JeffinIL

    You can run yourself to death in circles trying to take all the "You should eat this way" advice. It's all contradictory. The only thing that everyone seems to agree on is that no one eats "right".

    August 24, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. KentAZ


    The "China Study" is not serious research, but rather represents a sterling example of manipulating the data to obtain a desired result. It's been thoroughly debunked, as you can see from articles and blogs of other researchers.

    See, for example, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

    August 24, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Andrew

    Marla – we don't need to read your SPAM.

    August 25, 2011 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. mogran

    Ask me if diet works ...6 stents later...it's baloney...the drugs do work but genetics wins!

    August 25, 2011 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mark L.

    Just another little tidbit to add – For those of us that are into herbal supplements and vitamins – Go out and buy yourself a bottle of Red Yeast Rice. Red Yeast Rice is an old Asian traditional herbal supplement and it does wonders to combat your LDL (bad cholesterol). In 2010, I had borderline high cholesterol. After changing my diet, exercising more and taking Red Yeast Rice, in 2011, my cholesterol went back down to normal level. If you can, it is better to fight your cholesterol with herbal supplements than medications such as Lipitor. Lipitor may lower your cholesterol, but it can also cause liver damage in the long run. So really, the choice is up to you. I prefer to stick to herbal supplements and vitamins.

    August 25, 2011 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. NanobacTX

    The diet is all well & good, but if one has existing heart disease, they will remain at risk for MI/Stroke irrespective of dietary implementation and/or constraints. First thing: Structurally Eradicate the physical aspects of coronary artery disease by the process of dissolving the existing plaque burden....it CAN be done and HAS been done and results published. The magic bullet? NanobacTX.....has been shown to safely and effectively reverse heart disease physically & functionally at home while the patient sleeps......read the studies, print them out and take them to your doctor to see if it's right for your situation and/or get their approval.......Reverse your heart disease-->NanobacTX. http://www.nanobiotech.us/nanobactx

    August 25, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to wendy5


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.