The quote, “Replacing a discussion of lifestyle change with a prescription for medication is akin to advising a patient to top a hot dog with a statin” is music to a nutritionist's ears.
In reality, we all know how much effort it can take to change a person's eating behavior. Below is a chart that delineates the approximate and cumulative LDL cholesterol reduction achievable by dietary modification. Maybe we can't convince someone to change everything about their diet, but even a few changes accumulate!
|Dietary component||Dietary change||Approximate LDL Reduction|
|Saturated fat||‹ 7% of calories||8-10 %|
|Dietary cholesterol||‹ 200 mg per day||3-5 %|
|Weight reduction||Lose 10 lbs||5-8 %|
|Other LDL lowering options|
|Soluble fiber||5-10 g per day||3-5 %|
|Plant sterol / stanol esters||2 g per day||6-15%|
In a recent article, lovastatin was compared to a diet containing all the cholesterol-lowering attributes of diet. The article concluded that statin and dietary portfolio treatments were not significantly different in efficacy of lowering both LDL-C and C-reactive protein. 1
For more information on LDL reduction, try the following resources:
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ~ Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III)
- Safeer RS, Ugalat PS. Cholesterol treatment guidelines update. American Family Physician. 2002;65:871-80.