Doctor's Note

Thought chicken was a low-fat food? It used to be, but not any more. See: Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity? It may be one of the reasons we may be getting fatter as well: Chicken Big: Poultry and Obesity.

Isn’t protein just protein? How does our body know if it’s coming from a plant or an animal? How could it have different effects on cardiovascular risk? See Protein and Heart Disease, another reason why Plant Protein [is] Preferable.

I used that same Coke/Pepsi comparison in my analysis of another body of beef-funded research: BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol?

More on the role of oxidized cholesterol in Does Cholesterol Size Matter? and Arterial Acne.

Lowering cholesterol is as simple as reducing one's intake of three things, and the lower, perhaps, the better: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

What about those news stories on the vindication of saturated fat? See the sneaky science in The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your NutritionFacts.org account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • https://plus.google.com/114098716764539869188/about/p/pub Holden (Arjan den Hollander)

    Very funny video! :)

    • Joevegan

      It has been said that a pessimist is just an optimist with experience.

    • https://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/lilyroza lilyroza

      Thanks for the video suggestion. I disagree with many of the speaker’s points, but it’s not like I expected this video on pessimism to be good, so when some of it was amusing, and other parts useful, I was delighted. I must say that pessimism has often worked out well for me. It would serve the population to be considerably more pessimistic about the trustworthiness of the food industry, big pharma, medicine, and government. All within reason, of course.

      • https://plus.google.com/114098716764539869188/about/p/pub Holden (Arjan den Hollander)

        I’m glad you liked it, I’ve set myself the task of re-socializing myself and building up my EQ up as far as I can take it,
        already had some great help through contemplation by hand me downs from that institution. I’m very pleased to have found them.

      • Tom

        What do you disagree with?

  • Brian Humphrey

    Soy and lard…hahaha. Love it. Thanks Dr.Greger and Staff!

  • Misterimpatient

    Slard(tm) Available now at a store near you.

  • Jeffrey Zayda

    Hello good Doctor, I hope that you had a great cruise. I’m having difficulty discussing any issue about cholesterol with several people because of their rigid belief that cholesterol is not linked to heart disease, based upon Dr. Sinatras book “the cholesteral myth debunked ” http://youtu.be/dAq7Sxyp-JQ please help us advise advise them to the real science, or is there something to it?, thank you
    Sincerely, Jeffrey Zayda,L.M.T.

    • doug
    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Many doctors discuss diet and cholesterol. Forgive me Jeffery, but I don’t have time to watch an hour video. Do you mind puling references from his video and then we can debate? Or perhaps giving us the main take aways? That would be super helpful for me! Thanks so much for your comments and making us aware of this doctor Sinatra.

      • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        This is all of Dr. Sinatra I ever want to watch.

        http://youtu.be/XumPQLTzPWI

        • https://plus.google.com/114098716764539869188/about/p/pub Holden (Arjan den Hollander)

          Hehehehe, so sad :)

        • Julie

          I know the whole grounding thing sounds ridiculous…….but in my experience it is quite profound. Increased energy, reduced inflammation, much deeper relaxed sleep; sorry, but I can’t live without it.

          • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

            Try going barefoot in the middle of winter here in South Dakota. I guarantee your experience would be much, much different!

          • Julie

            Yeah, our winters are tough too and no way am I going barefoot when it’s -10 outside or on a lawn sprayed with pesticides! My husband and I have a grounding sheet on our bed.

          • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

            Awesome! Thanks for the research citations. If something as non-invasive as “earthing” can be helpful, go for it! Just don’t do it in South Dakota (I’m talking to you, MacSmiley).

          • Charzie

            I’m going to chime in here too…I agree with you! Think of how you feel after a day at the beach or lake…kicking off your shoes and being in touch with the earth is similar. A bunch of us decided to try the idea out and report back, and for what it’s worth, of the 18 who participated only one said they didn’t really see any benefit. Some were pretty dramatic, arthritic knees were less swollen and more flexible, back problems improved, sleep much improved, headaches soothed. I had twisted my knee and had been gimping around for days, and really didn’t expect any result, but figured it was as good a time as any to at least stand in the grass for a while. I got side-tracked with a visitor and we just stood there about an hour and by the time they left, I kind of forgot what I had gone out there for, and went back inside… until it occurred to me that my knee wasn’t hurting. I was kind of dumbstruck…had to be coincidence! But I also realized that for the first time in ages, I actually had sensation in my fingers too! (I did a number breaking my wrist and they had to put it back together with hardware, but I lost sensation in 3 fingers.) That was just weird! LOL! I don’t know what the explanation is, but it’s free and simple enough…a new habit!

      • Julie

        Dr. Sinatra is an integrative cardiologist who does think that it is important to have the right balance of HDL and LDL (and all their sub-types) for heart health, and that total cholesterol doesn’t tell the whole story. “The real cause of heart disease is inflammation, not cholesterol. I believe this is true because half of all people who die of heart attacks have a “normal” cholesterol level—and because of all the angiograms I’ve performed on patients with high cholesterol numbers but completely clean arteries.”

        • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

          Speaking of balance, Dr. Sinatra is not telling you the whole story, either. Of course TC is not detailed enough information. And although inflammation is involved in atherosclerosis, it is not the cause, just like an infection in your finger doesn’t happen on its own without a filthy foreign object embedded in it, like a splinter.

          Noted lipidoligist Dr. Thomas Dayspring will tell you, atherosclerosis is caused by the invasion of excessive ApoB-containing particles (LDL of all sizes, VLDL, IDL, chylomicrons, and chylomicron remnants) collectively known as non-HDL embedded where they don’t belong in between the cells of artery walls. What’s important is not the balance, but the REDUCTION to the lowest amount possible of all those ApoB-containing particles.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          I see and I agree that total cholesterol is not the whole story. Dr. Ornish talks about not needing tons of garbage trucks (HDL) if you don’t have tons of garbage (LDL). I know I must be misrepresenting his analogy so forgive me. Plus, I think the biochemistry is much more complex. I feel “normal” cholesterol levels are misleading as Dr. Greger explains what normal really means. Newer video on Optimal Cholesterol levels, here. All with citations.

          • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

            Following Thomas Dayspring in Twitter is fascinating ( though I do not recommend following his Taubesian pro-saturated fat dietary waywardness). He knows his lipids.

            Dayspring lowered this bomb the other day:

            “@Drlipid: @FatEmperor Understand the physiologic purpose of LDLs is to return cholesterol to liver and gut not to distribute it to tissues

        • Susan

          Many physicians agree with this philosophy. And I noticed that by avoiding meat, fish, cholesterol rich foods not only did my cholesterol levels drop, but the inflammation in my joints also dropped.

          But after a total knee and total hip replacement, my legs are still inflamed. And diet has not cured the situation. Now, my local doctor has me on fluid pills, which concerns me.

          Any feed back on this treatment is welcome.

          • Julie

            Hi Susan. It’s great to hear that you’ve reduced some inflammation by avoiding meat, fish, cholesterol rich foods. I would think the fluid pills aren’t addressing the true cause of the inflammation, just a symptom. Turmeric is lauded by Dr. Greger and others as an awesome anti-inflammatory spice. Zyflamend, an anti-inflammatory herb supplement, has rave reviews online. Are you familiar with Earthing (grounding)? It sounds crazy, but the earth is packed with electrons and these electrons have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Please see my post above and Charzie’s response. Here’s a more thorough explanation: http://earthingcanada.ca/chronic-inflammation-and-arthritis/

  • BobbiS

    My LDL shifts very little on a low fat plant based diet- why???????
    I am so happy to read these facts to see what incredible results in LDL reduction may happen for so many people but me. I am vegan (again- 6 months), low fat with a confounding problem of not having my LDL which is now 3.63 mmol/l. I reduced processed grains and saw a decrease in my triglycerides but my LDL is being stubborn. ;) HDL is 1.63 and ration 4.2. When I was vegan, but not low fat for about 8 months- the numbers made only marginal shifts at that time as well. HELP!!!!!! Is this genetics? I am diabetic, or hypertensive and I am currently working on loosing 25 extra pounds. I want to stay on this healthy path.

    • thorn324

      These are important concerns; I share them. Would one or more of the professionals reading these posts please respond with some help?

      Also, would someone please translate the lab reading BobbiS included to those used in the United States? Thank you.

      • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        I forget the exact formula, but here’s a conversion chart.

        • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

          Lovely. Disqus has dropped my image YET AGAIN!!

      • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        http://www.onlineconversion.com/cholesterol.htm

        Bobbi’s LDL is approx 140 mg/dl.

      • BobbiS

        Ha Ha, sorry- a Canadian result. ;) Thank you for the advocacy for my issue that seems to be shared by others. ;)

    • Matthew Smith

      Sounds like you are doing everything right. If your LDL is still to high, you could try Niacin. Niacin was discovered to be an Ideal triglycerides, LDL reducing, and HDL increasing medicine. It’s been used that way to treat high blood levels for 50 years. There’s a book about how to use Niacin therapy to lower Cholesterol, Cholesterol Control Without Diet. The Niacin Solution by W. B. Parsons. This is the best pill to treat LDL and its almost free. The drug companies tried to sink it, you can watch the video in part here and Andrew Saul’s response https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=265980030275194 The curious side effects that the study mentioned may be a profound elevation in mood, treatment of bipolar, depression, schziophrenia, reduction or elimination of any addictions. It battles a stress signal in the brain that brain makes in response to excitement that can be oxidized to cause mental health issues. However, taking higher dose Niacin can cause flushing. It takes time to get used to, I’ve heard. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v01n10.shtml The ideal dose is probably not known for everyone. You could talk to your doctor about using Niacin therapy. It can cause Nausea. If you want to lose weight you could try taking vitamin D3 supplements or using fenugreek, recommended here for cancer. I think it is interesting that your LDL is high when you are a vegan because it means you are not eating any Cholesterol. 100 percent is made by you, and you are making too much. Why are you making too much? Perhaps you could hypothesize that LDL is manufactured in response to Niacin deficits.

      • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        The alleged pharmacological reasons for taking Niacin is for raising HDL, not lowering LDL.

        • Matthew Smith

          Lowers LDL 20-30 percent, raises HDL 20-30 percent, lowers triglycerides by 50 percent.

          • kylemeister

            I’m reminded of Current Medical Diagnosis and
            Treatment (an annual book) saying that niacin has a near-ideal effect on blood lipids (but that flushing can indeed be a problem).

          • Charzie

            It was actually kind of scary when it first happened, so a good idea to start low and work upwards slowly.

          • Darryl

            Depends on the dosage. The highest recommended dosage for Niaspan is 2000 mg, and that produces (on average) an increase in HDL (24%), and lowering of LDL (-16%), Lp(a) (-25%), and TG (-32%).

          • Matthew Smith

            Thanks. Increase in HDL lower of LDL. Thats what I want I could get up to maximimum to get that benefit. That would cure my high numbers. Man, it still wasn’t heart death what I went to the hosptial for. It’s free too. It treats heart death.

          • http://www.eatandbeatcancer.com/ Harriet Sugar Miller

            Darryl, Could you explain how LDL gets oxidized? Why is lard less likely to oxidize than fat from meat? Because it’s so saturated?

      • fred

        Do not take time released niacin…your liver will thank you for it. And your skin will not turn yellow.

        • Matthew Smith

          What? Just grind that stuff up and put it in Pasta? I swear American Cholesterol is so high it’s like we all have Jaundice and are Simpsons characters. Did you know high cholesterol can cause emotional illness (well its a warning sign for it)? Do you Control your cholesterol, no but you do control how much Niacin you take. Time released niacin can still just spread out the flush when you are not with food. The doctor said Niacin or B vitamins just run through you.

      • BobbiS

        Thank you, Matthew. Menopause has made flashing a bad word for me as I get such a strong vasomotor response with hot flashes that I feel very weak at times, so I think niacin in very minute doses may be helpful. Good to know as I was not aware of its efficacy. ;)

        • Matthew Smith

          It’s free! They through it at you. You can get it at a Grocery store.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      You mention you are a low fat vegan. Are you following a particular program, Bobbi? Esselstyn, McDougall, Ornish, Fuhrman?

      • BobbiS

        I am trying a combination of the above except Furman, but maybe it is the small amount of nuts (4-6) per day that may also add to the issue. I must be more active and get the weight off and see what it does as Joe suggested to.

        • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

          I would continue the nuts/flax seeds especially. They are documented cholesterol reducers.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      What I would do, if I were you, would be to stack my diet with a portfolio of plant foods which are known to reduce LDL.

      I would also consult a lipidoligist for an advanced particle count. What you’ll want to know is how numerous your LDL-P(articles) are versus your LDL-C(holesterol content) is, bcz it’s the particles which carry the cholesterol, not necessarily their cargo which do damage to the artery walls.

      • BobbiS

        So i researched those and with the exception of the fish oil, I eat them. So I will continue. Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      How much is your non-HDL cholesterol? That is your Total Cholesterol minus your HDL?

      • BobbiS

        Hi MacSmiley,
        I will get that number and get back to you with a converted number shortly. Thank you for your help so far and great feedback. ;)

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Thanks for sharing, BobbiS. Other have made some comments. I don’t have much to add. I agree with MacSmiley, your LDL is 140 and HDL 63. Is your doctor very concerned? Are you on medication? Important to keep medical professionals in the loop. They can answer your question about genes. Maybe weight loss can help lower your LDL, as well. Also, diet is not the only thing that can alter cholesterol levels. Being physically active and lowering stress are other lifestyle modifications known to reduce cholesterol. Thanks for much for utilizing the website and directing others to it! That means a lot to us :)

      Best wishes,
      Joseph

      • BobbiS

        Hi Joseph,
        Thank you so much for responding to my question. My doctor is not concerned at this point so I will continue on with weight loss and I am now increasing my activity to daily with yoga and walks. No meds at this point either and sure want to keep it that way.
        Warmly,
        Bobbi

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Great! Good luck. I found out more suggestions from Dr. Greger. Basically, for those who have “tried everything” and still have high LDL, try focusing on the saturated fat sources (coconut oil; cocoa butter). I’d make sure you’re doing the Jenkins portfolio diet list (beans, okra, flax, etc) and get thyroid function tested. Weight loss is important if there is too much abdominal fat. And if the diet is awesome and still no luck then perhaps try Dr. Esselstyn’s 6 servings of greens a day thing to keep nitric oxide flowing and consider a statin. I think the yoga and weight loss plan sounds good. Keep up the good work and stay in high spirits.

    • Charzie

      A big issue for me was cutting out ALL processed foods and just really eating close to nature, including a good share of raw food in smoothies, soups, salads, sprouts, whatever. I was diabetic before I started, and my total cholesterol was in the 200’s and taking statins, but not much improvement. Within 3 weeks of the above changes, and eating smaller, more frequent meals, I no longer had elevated blood sugar and my cholesterol, though not as low as I would like, dropped more than it ever did taking statins, which I stopped because of the side effects. My HDL is on the low side, and I forgot the last LDL, but taking niacin seems to help too. I can’t clean up my diet any more, so I’m not going to stress over it…that’s probably even worse! lol

      • BobbiS

        Thank you so much, Charzie. I will try limiting any processed foods as much as possible because even the low fat ones may be hindering my progress.
        Warmly,
        Bobbi

        • Charzie

          I think you are so right! I know it can be hard to have to start from scratch when you are eating healthy, but for me anyway, it is the only way I know for sure what the quality is of the food I am eating. I rarely buy anything in a package or with a label, but there is also a real sense of satisfaction in succeeding in improving your health and knowing you are doing the best for yourself! I have become the queen of quickies and shortcuts because I can be lazy, since I only prepare food for me, I just had to find new approaches, techniques, and make the time! (And the internet can be a wonderful source of help!) I found I had to cut out ALL animal products to get my numbers into a decent range too, I have a theory that if our distant ancestors come from an area where the diet was very plant based, we just don’t have the genetics to deal with animal products like perhaps other populations might, an adaption that is known to occur. It actually works well for me because now I don’t feel like a “failed vegetarian”. I never liked meat and hated the idea of eating other sentient creatures, but between raising a family, budget and time constraints, I sadly took the easy route of convenience, and did pay the price. I so wish I didn’t wait until my 50’s to make this switch because the benefits have been mind blowing and I could have saved myself so much grief! Apparently I needed a good scare to set me on the right path, which stinks, but better late than never! Best of luck to you Bobbi!

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD -NF Volunteer

      Congratulations on your journey to good health. In my clinical experience weight loss is best accomplished by attention to calorie density with some attention to fitness. Resources you might find useful are Jeff Novick’s DVD, Calorie Density: Eat More Weigh Less and Live Longer… available only thru Engine 2 website as of two weeks ago and Doug Lisle’s You Tube Video, How to Lose Weight without Losing your mind. It is also possible to be a sick or fat vegan. Dr. McDougall’s December 2008 newsletter entitled “Fat Vegan”. I have found some patients whose cholesterol’s are very sensitive to fructose intake… processed foods and fruits. You can try looking at labels or just eating foods without labels. We know from Dr. Esselstyn’s work that patients who have clinical coronary artery disease can lower risk for future events to less than 1% over a 3 1/2 year period. Usual care based on the COURAGE study shows about 20% recurrence per year. His targets are total cholesterol below 150 or LDL below 90 for that population. There aren’t good studies on populations who follow a whole food plant based diet with B12 supplementation. It is possible that the numbers could be higher. it is a guess. Another McDougall newsletter from September 2002 discusses Cholesterol in general and he discusses Cleaning out your arteries in June 2003. Of course the science has just kept coming and you need to stay tuned to NutritionFacts.org for the latest. Dr. Greger has over 100 video’s relating to arterial disease. I too recommend this website to many folks. Keep plugging away at it.

    • Wegan

      What is your TSH level? Thyroid stimulating hormone if it’s high it will raise LDL. It could be iodine deficiency which most people probably have these days. See the books by Brownstein and Farrow. You can find protocols on-line for raising levels safely.

      • BobbiS

        Thank you, just got my TSH and it is good. So I will check the resources. LDL now down 25% so I will keep it up.

  • KimE

    Thank you Dr Greger for exposing even more manipulation in the meat industry!

  • Robert Haile

    In my location on the Guanacaste Peninsula in Costa Rica, a Blue zone, chickens are not fed and do a wonderful job clearing tics off my land.(My dogs are appreciative.) They are my neighbour’s chickens and find their fare over several properties. When they are slaughtered and cooked, there is no visible fat and they are tough. The cattle are very similar and people here seem to be healthy and vigorous in their 90’s and even 100’s. They do walk or ride bicycles up steep hills and over long distances with no days too cold to go outside. They seem much healthier than I who does not eat meat products, though I probably caused myself the greatest harm working as a MD in the USA. Do you think if studies were done in such a community with vigorous people eating meat from vigorous animals raised humanely, the outcome would be different. The cattle are Brahmin. Our water supply is loaded with minerals, especially magnesium and calcium. The meat servings are small and they eat a lot of unprocessed vegetables. (However, the US food chains are beginning to show their ugly faces in larger cities such as San Jose.) Thank you for my nutrition education.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      Interesting. How many ounces of meat are in a typical serving? How often is meat eaten over the course of a day?

      Dan Buettner mentioned the mineral content of the water and the enrichment of the corn masa which does not appear to be done here in the US.

      • Robert Haile

        Meat including fish, chicken, beef, pork( In that order) 3-4 ounces, 2-4 times/week. Lots of brown rice & beans with some eggs(4-5 weekly) from the same chickens. They also have an almost tasteless cheese of which they have small amounts. The local people are poor and they can not afford too much meat and cheese & do not consume much milk although usually whole milk mostly in coffee which is very popular due to the high quality untainted coffee, unlike Starbucks. The water is so filled with minerals that they precipitate when chilled and quickly clog filters or coat teapots.The vegetables are great, growing in volcanic soil full of nutrients reminding me much of the vegetables that I consumed as child living in dairy country near Brisbane, 1949-1965. Our average rainfall is 132 inches/year. Personally, I do not eat beef or pork with chicken or fish 4-6 oz, 3-4 times/week, with no dairy or eggs. We eat similar to the local people with the differences as noted. I am concerned that meat production en mass is often cruel, harmful to us by eating, destroying jungles, and producing too much methane causing climate change. We do not own a car and usually walk or bike similar to local people. Many other transplants have a similar attitude

        • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

          Fascinating!!

      • Robert Haile

        Meat including fish, chicken, beef, pork( In that order) 3-4 ounces, 2-4 times/week. Lots of brown rice & beans with some eggs(4-5 weekly) from the same chickens. They also have an almost tasteless cheese of which they have small amounts. The local people are poor and they can not afford too much meat and cheese & do not consume much milk although usually whole milk mostly in coffee which is very popular due to the high quality untainted coffee, unlike Starbucks. The water is so filled with minerals that they precipitate when chilled and quickly clog filters or coat teapots.The vegetables are great, growing in volcanic soil full of nutrients reminding me much of the vegetables that I consumed as child living in dairy country near Brisbane, 1949-1965. Our average rainfall is 132 inches/year. Personally, I do not eat beef or pork with chicken or fish 4-6 oz, 3-4 times/week, with no dairy or eggs. We eat similar to the local people with the differences as noted. I am concerned that meat production en mass is often cruel, harmful to us by eating, destroying jungles, and producing too much methane causing climate change. We do not own a car and usually walk or bike similar to local people. Many other transplants have a similar attitude

      • Robert Haile

        Meat including fish, chicken, beef, pork( In that order) 3-4 ounces, 2-4 times/week. Lots of brown rice & beans with some eggs(4-5 weekly) from the same chickens. They also have an almost tasteless cheese of which they have small amounts. The local people are poor and they can not afford too much meat and cheese & do not consume much milk although usually whole milk mostly in coffee which is very popular due to the high quality untainted coffee, unlike Starbucks. The water is so filled with minerals that they precipitate when chilled and quickly clog filters or coat teapots.The vegetables are great, growing in volcanic soil full of nutrients reminding me much of the vegetables that I consumed as child living in dairy country near Brisbane, 1949-1965. Our average rainfall is 132 inches/year. Personally, I do not eat beef or pork with chicken or fish 4-6 oz, 3-4 times/week, with no dairy or eggs. We eat similar to the local people with the differences as noted. I am concerned that meat production en mass is often cruel, harmful to us by eating, destroying jungles, and producing too much methane causing climate change. We do not own a car and usually walk or bike similar to local people. Many other transplants have a similar attitude

    • Daniel Wagle

      Could it actually be the “lot of unprocessed vegetables” that make them healthy, rather than the meat? Also, as you said, the meat servings were small. Also, exercising a lot helps. Even Joel Fuhrman states that eating a lot of vegetables can cancel the bad effects of eating meat. I don’t eat meat at all, but this doesn’t depend on any belief that eating *any* meat is very harmful. I tend to believe, however, that eating a lot of meat is harmful. I also think that “grass fed” is not health promoting, but is not as bad for health as factory farmed.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Good questions, Dr. Haile. The short answer is perhaps, but until that study is conducted I cannot say for certain. These Blue Zones are primarily plant-based, but I do not think 100% in Costa Rica. If they do include meat it’s likely very small portions, as you describe, coming from animals not fed antibiotics and who are roaming freely in backyards. There are however 100% plant-based eaters in California Blue Zones like Loma Linda. There is some merit to flexitarians reaping health benefits by simply reducing their meat intake. I know one study that found less multi-drug resistant bacteria contamination on organic chicken, compared with conventional chicken. The difference was not huge, as Dr. Greger explains from this video. Perhaps more importantly, grass-fed beef and organic chicken contain the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, compared with conventional beef and chicken. So it would appear grass-fed beef and organic chicken would still pose the same risks for heart disease. Not sure how this stacks up to Costa Rican pollo or longevity? I feel any animal living in more natural environments (like not in cages, which is rare) is better for the animal’s health. Dr. David Servan-Schreiber discuss organic animal products in his book, AntiCancer, describing them essentially as optional, adding the majority of the diet should stem from plant origin. The idea is more fiber, more antioxidants, and better omega3:omega6 ratios.

      Lastly, factory-farmed chicken may be hazardous for consumer health, as superbugs have been found in retail chicken.

      Careful what you say about San Jose. I am a huge Sharks fan and I will find my way to Costa Rice :-) (Totally just kidding). Thanks for your post. I think what you want is a study looking at centenarians in Costa Rica vs Loma Linda. Does Blue Zones compare longevity from different populations? At any rate, both populations have extended health benefits.

      Best regards,
      Joseph

  • jerrylamos

    Cholesterol down here very nicely. Vegetables, Fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, 4 oz wild caught ocean fish two servings a week, tons and tons of recipes, feel fine, exercise most days, just went skiing, I’m 80. BMI dead on. Why is this so hard for people to do ?? BTW, world livestock production creates more global warming than all of transportation. Organic where possible, Roundup and 2,4-D not needed – rotate crops. Oops, Monsanto won’t make a mint. Grow plants, not cattle, pigs, or chickens.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Switching from Beef to Chicken is like an alcoholic who switches from liquor to beer….

    • Robert Haile

      You are probably right.

    • Robert Haile

      You are probably right.

    • Robert Haile

      You are probably right.

    • fred

      I’ve switched from ground turkey to ground beef…less salmonella. But not much of it.

      More pink salmon from NE Pacific…the kind that don’t swim to Japan. I’m depending on the US govt and the salmon fishing industry to tell me when it isn’t safe to eat….LOL.

      Since almost everything is polluted…you need to choose your poisons? Keep the worst of it down….

      I’ve come to a tentative conclusion that one of the main reasons veggie eating is healthy are faster TRANSIT TIMES…..constipation ages you fast.

      The reason you can’t eat a lot of nuts…is that they can slow transit time….especially peanuts. Know of someone who had to have an operation to unblock the valve from the small to large intestine from too many peanuts.

  • Joe Caner

    I realize that this is anecdotal, but I was able to ride my own cholesterol numbers down from 203 to 166 by means of dietary intervention on my journey from omnivore to vegan; which was originally unintended, yet logical destination; by first eliminating beef, pork and lamb; then to chicken skin removal, eliminating chicken altogether, fish off the menu until the only animal products left in my diet were a hard boiled egg, sliced, or 4 oz of poached shrimp, and sometimes both. These went to garnished my white bean, greens, onion, jalapeño, garlic, tomato, avocado, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice dinner salad. I still think fondly about that salad. The eggs and shrimp added a dimension that I have yet to satisfactorily reproduce with my current ingredient pallet, but it’s still a great salad without the egg and/or shrimp.

    My physician was thrilled by my progress, but he still wanted to put me on statins because my LDL:HDL ratio deteriorated, presumably due to my nearly daily egg consumption. I loved those things. They were pretty much the last thing I gave up, although, I am mildly repulsed by them now, my thoughts of them in that salad notwithstanding.

    The funny thing is I may have never gone all the way to whole foods plant based (WFPB) if my favorite food were say clams, mussels or squid, but I am so glad I did because shortly thereafter I started feeling so amazingly good that it stopped being a numbers game, and became all about how can I manipulate my diet so I could feel even better.

    I started doing other things such as riding my sodium usage down, and noticing as I did that it made me feel better because of it.

    This was my most important take away from the whole experience which was that my body would tell me if something I ate or some activity I did made me feel better or worse. When I heeded its advice, my health prospered. When I didn’t, it declined.

    I am now in my 50’s, and in many ways, I have not felt or looked better, and while there is no substitution for youth, I feel and pass for a considerably younger man. At least, when I am at my best.

    It is my hopeful belief that this destiny is open to you all, and my desire that you find your way there.

  • Joe Caner

    I realize that this is anecdotal, but I was able to ride my own cholesterol numbers down from 203 to 166 by means of dietary intervention on my journey from omnivore to vegan; which was originally unintended, yet logical destination; by first eliminating beef, pork and lamb; then to chicken skin removal, eliminating chicken altogether, fish off the menu until the only animal products left in my diet were a hard boiled egg, sliced, or 4 oz of poached shrimp, and sometimes both. These went to garnished my white bean, greens, onion, jalapeño, garlic, tomato, avocado, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice dinner salad. I still think fondly about that salad. The eggs and shrimp added a dimension that I have yet to satisfactorily reproduce with my current ingredient pallet, but it’s still a great salad without the egg and/or shrimp.

    My physician was thrilled by my progress, but he still wanted to put me on statins because my LDL:HDL ratio deteriorated, presumably due to my nearly daily egg consumption. I loved those things. They were pretty much the last thing I gave up, although, I am mildly repulsed by them now, my thoughts of them in that salad notwithstanding.

    The funny thing is I may have never gone all the way to whole foods plant based (WFPB) if my favorite food were say clams, mussels or squid, but I am so glad I did because shortly thereafter I started feeling so amazingly good that it stopped being a numbers game, and became all about how can I manipulate my diet so I could feel even better.

    I started doing other things such as riding my sodium usage down, and noticing as I did that it made me feel better because of it.

    This was my most important take away from the whole experience which was that my body would tell me if something I ate or some activity I did made me feel better or worse. When I heeded its advice, my health prospered. When I didn’t, it declined.

    I am now in my 50’s, and in many ways, I have not felt or looked better, and while there is no substitution for youth, I feel and pass for a considerably younger man. At least, when I am at my best.

    It is my hopeful belief that this destiny is open to you all, and my desire that you find your way there.

  • Joe Caner

    I realize that this is anecdotal, but I was able to ride my own cholesterol numbers down from 203 to 166 by means of dietary intervention on my journey from omnivore to vegan; which was originally unintended, yet logical destination; by first eliminating beef, pork and lamb; then to chicken skin removal, eliminating chicken altogether, fish off the menu until the only animal products left in my diet were a hard boiled egg, sliced, or 4 oz of poached shrimp, and sometimes both. These went to garnished my white bean, greens, onion, jalapeño, garlic, tomato, avocado, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice dinner salad. I still think fondly about that salad. The eggs and shrimp added a dimension that I have yet to satisfactorily reproduce with my current ingredient pallet, but it’s still a great salad without the egg and/or shrimp.

    My physician was thrilled by my progress, but he still wanted to put me on statins because my LDL:HDL ratio deteriorated, presumably due to my nearly daily egg consumption. I loved those things. They were pretty much the last thing I gave up, although, I am mildly repulsed by them now, my thoughts of them in that salad notwithstanding.

    The funny thing is I may have never gone all the way to whole foods plant based (WFPB) if my favorite food were say clams, mussels or squid, but I am so glad I did because shortly thereafter I started feeling so amazingly good that it stopped being a numbers game, and became all about how can I manipulate my diet so I could feel even better.

    I started doing other things such as riding my sodium usage down, and noticing as I did that it made me feel better because of it.

    This was my most important take away from the whole experience which was that my body would tell me if something I ate or some activity I did made me feel better or worse. When I heeded its advice, my health prospered. When I didn’t, it declined.

    I am now in my 50’s, and in many ways, I have not felt or looked better, and while there is no substitution for youth, I feel and pass for a considerably younger man. At least, when I am at my best.

    It is my hopeful belief that this destiny is open to you all, and my desire that you find your way there.

  • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

    More detail on Jenkin’s “Portfolio diet” is here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=196970

    They delivered plant sterols using margarine. I don’t eat margarine. Could someone suggest the best plant sources of sterol… or more to the point, I would like to get 2g per day (or more) but my searches don’t return anything that helpful. Is anyone getting high sterol levels without supplements?

    This is somewhat urgent for me because my yearly review showed my cholesterol has jumped to 5.1 (from a low around 4 mM) …I think that is like 200 compared to 150 in usa units (too big to switch to metric eh USA?) They right away started chirpping away about my vegan diet and want to put me on Ezytrol saying that it is not a statin. I ripped them all a new orifice some years ago when I discovered that most of my symptoms disappeared when i stopped taking that crap.

    so I asked them to give me another 6 months to try getting it back down. I don’t mind taking a supplemental sterol but i think they only work when in the whole food, right? so how to get that working for me? thanks

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Good points, Gregor. Have you seen Dr. Greger’s video on optimum phytosterol sources? Seems nuts and seeds are best sources. Not sure about what would amount to 2 grams? This study may help. I know these sterols help with a fat source.

      I really appreciate all of your posts! Thanks, Joseph

      • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

        Thank you…yes I have seen the vid, read the abstract. They show that it is not practical to eat the required amount of high-sterol foods to get the effective dose…so I think you are suggesting a pill and a little fat at the same time. Margarine? No! Walnuts…i get it. I’ve got 6 months before my next blood chems. I’ll do my best to replicate the Portfolio diet to get the numbers back in line.

    • Joe Caner

      Foods highest in Phytosterols:

      http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000074000000000000000-1.html

      1) Lettuce, green leaf, rawPhytosterols: 507mg
      2) Capers, cannedPhytosterols: 417mg
      3) Oil, vegetable, rice branPhytosterols: 269mg
      4) Pickles, cucumber, sourPhytosterols: 254mg
      5) Pickles, cucumber, sour, low sodiumPhytosterols: 254mg
      6) Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, driedPhytosterols: 249mg
      7) Asparagus, rawPhytosterols: 240mg

      • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

        Thanks Joe, but ummm I don’t understand those numbers. The site says 1lettuce leaf is 5 grams…so that means lettuce is 0.5g sterol per 5g leaf or 10% by weight? Criquey! I hope thats true. but I just don’t think it is.

        • Joe Caner

          It must be what they consider a serving size. I just checked the phytosterols for a 1/4 cup of sesame and they come out to 247 (1028 mg per cup divided by 4) according to that website. I put a 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds in my smoothie to ensure a full complement of vitamin E.
          A 1/4 cup of sesame seeds will give you about a third of your RDA for calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorous and about a quarter of your RDA for zinc, molybdenum, selenium and vitamin B1 which is a pretty good deal for about 200 Cals. It’s essential oils are skewed to the Omega-6 side of the equation, but if you are eating a lot of whole foods and you balance out the equation with flax and walnuts, you’ll be in great shape.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      Cholesterol expressed as milligrams per deciliter is metric.

      • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

        OK fair cop. but still, deciliters? really I think its time to get you folks in sync with the rest of us. Or would you prefer all 7.4 billion of us go your way?

        • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

          I’m not a cop. Just stating the obvious.

          And since I well remember the campaign to “Go metric” several decades ago, which I thought was a jolly good idea, I decided to find out why it never “took” in popular use here, despite the ubiquitous deployment of 2-liter bottles of soft drinks.

          http://science.howstuffworks.com/why-us-not-on-metric-system.htm

          Long story short, the metrification legislation made the use of metric measures voluntary instead of compulsory.

  • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

    More detail on Jenkin’s “Portfolio diet” is here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=196970

    They delivered plant sterols using margarine. I don’t eat margarine. Could someone suggest the best plant sources of sterol… or more to the point, I would like to get 2g per day (or more) but my searches don’t return anything that helpful. Is anyone getting high sterol levels without supplements?

    This is somewhat urgent for me because my yearly review showed my cholesterol has jumped to 5.1 (from a low around 4 mM) …I think that is like 200 compared to 150 in usa units (too big to switch to metric eh USA?) They right away started chirpping away about my vegan diet and want to put me on Ezytrol saying that it is not a statin. I ripped them all a new orifice some years ago when I discovered that most of my symptoms disappeared when i stopped taking that crap.

    so I asked them to give me another 6 months to try getting it back down. I don’t mind taking a supplemental sterol but i think they only work when in the whole food, right? so how to get that working for me? thanks

  • http://Arthrofoot.com/ Gregor

    More detail on Jenkin’s “Portfolio diet” is here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=196970

    They delivered plant sterols using margarine. I don’t eat margarine. Could someone suggest the best plant sources of sterol… or more to the point, I would like to get 2g per day (or more) but my searches don’t return anything that helpful. Is anyone getting high sterol levels without supplements?

    This is somewhat urgent for me because my yearly review showed my cholesterol has jumped to 5.1 (from a low around 4 mM) …I think that is like 200 compared to 150 in usa units (too big to switch to metric eh USA?) They right away started chirpping away about my vegan diet and want to put me on Ezytrol saying that it is not a statin. I ripped them all a new orifice some years ago when I discovered that most of my symptoms disappeared when i stopped taking that crap.

    so I asked them to give me another 6 months to try getting it back down. I don’t mind taking a supplemental sterol but i think they only work when in the whole food, right? so how to get that working for me? thanks

  • https://plus.google.com/114098716764539869188/about/p/pub Holden (Arjan den Hollander)

    Wow, I’m just coming from a small flame war on a Bill Gates’s talk on Ted about Ebola.
    With Ted talks severely censoring too, got 4 messages deleted already.

    Complete upper class insensitivity,
    nothing about helping the people there by supporting their immune systems through better food, water and environmental conditions.
    But kind of advocating militarization of outbreak control.

    Completely perverted and sick!
    A must see really.

    • http://twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

      “In Liberia and Sierra Leone, where burial rites are reinforced by a number of secret societies, some mourners bathe in or anoint others with rinse water from the washing of corpses.”

      World Health Organization


      http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-ebola-report-20150115-story.html

      Ewwwwwwwww!!

      • https://plus.google.com/114098716764539869188/about/p/pub Holden (Arjan den Hollander)

        Something an educated person would refrain from doing isn’t it?

  • Matthew Smith

    This may sound very curious to you, but white meat chicken and turkey has cholesterol. It has about the same amount of cholesterol as beef. Even just the breast. White meat chicken and turkey has no fat or saturated fat and are very rich in protein and some very essential nutrients. I am not sure I would believe the beef industry if they say it is not better to eat this sustaining food than beef. Oprah was sued by the beef industry for saying that a diet free from beef was healthier. She made the beef industry crazy and helped a lot of people into a healthier life style. She was getting death threats from the beef industry, allegedly, the very people who sued her. White meat can contribute to disease via the IGF-1 damage pathway, possibly because chicken or turkey is stripped of Chromium Piccolate. Did you know that beef can literally rot in your freezer? In the beef famine of the 1970s, there was literally tons of beef in the landfills. Beans, nuts, matcha, dark chocolate, berries, whole grain, spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, can add many years to your life. If completely meat free is better, I think less meat should be a good place to start.

  • vwill

    I really liked this video. On a random side note, I was on youtube and saw this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBM4FXSfkk

    I am having a hard time to believe that cooking rice with coconut oil and than refrigerating it can decrease the calories of the rice. I looked for papers on PubMed but found none. Has anyone else heard of this? If so, does it really work? I would think that you would just be adding calories due to adding the coconut oil

  • Nancy Nowak

    I am eating a plant based diet to lower cholesterol. I had a heart bypass 6 months ago because one artery was almost totally blocked. The one question I still have about the plant based diet for me is it okay to eat a small amount of seeds and nuts each day. Dr. Greger says they help cholesterol levels stay low but other plant based diet doctors recommend eating no seeds or nuts, especially for a person like me who had a heart event. What say you? Thank you!

    • Jay M

      Google Dr Esselstyn. His recommendation would be very little to none I imagine.

    • Daniel Wagle

      I used to have very high cholesterol, as I was very heavy. Once I lost the weight, my cholesterol went down. Since losing the weight, I have begun to eat large portions of nuts each day, 4-5 ounces each day, along with ground flaxseed. My weight and my cholesterol continue to fall. Joel Furhman recommends nuts, along with Michael Greger. Walnuts would be best, since in one study, they were associated with regression of plaque. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-parts-of-the-mediterranean-diet-extended-life/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23866098 I personally eat peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed. Flaxseed and almonds are not that high in saturated fat, although pumpkin seeds and peanuts are a bit higher, although most of their fat is not saturated. However, none of them are associated with rising cholesterol, as for instance, coconut oil would be. Of course, one size does not fit all, so I might suggest eating a few nuts each day and get your cholesterol tested to see if it raises it. Dean Ornish does list ground flaxseed in his most healthful food group, but nuts in his second most. http://ornishspectrum.com/proven-program/nutrition/ I believe Caldwell Esselstyn is not against ground flaxseed. Of course, cut out all processed foods- such commercial sweets, chips and the like. Eat mainly raw nuts that are unsalted as well. Of course, cut out the meat and the dairy. Just take it slowly, under your doctor’s care, about the nuts. I would also eat oats and barley, which have also been associated with lower cholesterol levels.

  • BobbiS

    Thanks to all for your wonderful help with my stubborn LDL.

    I will ramp up the exercise and look for hidden fats. Still wish I could solve the nut mystery though. Some say, “yes” to small amount and some say, “no”. I love the satiation effect a small dose of nuts but I will get the weight down first and then add them carefully if at all.

    Neurosis would ruin it all for me so I keep a healthy humor about life to help me. ;)

    Good health to all!

    • Nancy Nowak

      I wish I could solve the nut mystery too. Dr Greger says that they are so healthy and Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Thomas Campbell say not to eat them at all!

    • Zac

      Nuts are not the only mystery; everything people consume as food is. For every expert who claims, with research to support , that X (replace X with any food) is good for you, there’s an expert who claims, with research to support, that X is bad for you. Nutrition is not just science; it is science + greed + politics + egos. Even without the latter three, science makes the wrong assumption that all human bodies are created equal and, therefore, what is good for one person must be good for the others and vice versa.

  • monovie

    fish is well known to be good for brains. So by definition, those who omit fish from diet are brain deficit ?

    This ties in with the fact that Omega 3 and Vit D are known to be low for those dementia prone. Which so happens to be high in fish.

    • Jim Felder

      The unique health effect of SOME fish are largely limited to DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids they contain. The other fats as well as the protein present are not unique to fish and can be readily obtain from plant sources. But fish get these fatty acids mostly by bio-accumulating them from the algae at the bottom of the food chain, which actually make them. You can cut out the middleman and eliminate the fish and go directly to the algae to get the DHA and EPA. Plus vat grown algae allows you to avoid all the environmental toxins like mercury, dioxins and PCBs that also accumulates in fish. And the best thing is that I don’t get disgusting “fish” burps with algae oil capsules like many people get with fish oil capsules.

      As for Vitamin D, just go outside, especially now that winter is past (at least here in the norther hemisphere). 10-15 minutes a day with as much skin exposed as possible (and legal!) will make a big difference. In the winter just take a vitamin D capsule.

  • Rawsan Mati

    WITHIN WEEKS ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    ——————————–

    I was on Statin drug in some stage and my numbers where 4.2 mmol/l = 162.41299 mg/dl then stopped statin the number jumped to 7 mmol/l = 270.68832 mg/dl.

    so I decided to go vegan NOW I am more than 7 months Vegan and just last month I made my diet more strict so that is NO Oils vegan diet, strangely my cholesterol numbers has not gone down that much.

    When I was meat eater ; 7 mmol/l = 270.68832 mg/dl (No Statin)
    4.2 mmol/l = 162.41299 mg/dl (with Statin)
    Strict Vegan ; 6.8 mmol/l = 262.95437 mg/dl (No Statin)

    So does it take long to see some good numbers ?? And do I have to take statin again? strong family history of heart issues.

    Thanks and keep the good work up.

    • HeartHealthy

      My wife and I have had great success following Dr Esselstyn’s
      diet which means eliminating all meats, dairy, eggs, processed foods, all oils,
      all nuts, sugary and fruit drinks, smoothies, caffeinated coffee, and even
      vegetables high in fat such as avacodos, and only eating whole grains such as
      100% whole wheat bread. Eat lots of
      leafy green vegetables. Dr E’s book and his
      youtube presentations are well worth your time to understand where he is coming
      from. Some of us have a much more
      difficult time getting our cholesterol under control and have to go the extra
      mile and sometimes even that is not enough and we have to take statins; but I would try eliminating all sources of fat
      from your diet other than what is normally in most vegetables, and eliminate other
      sugar/fructose and caffeine drinks, and smoothies which can also elevate
      cholesterol. Stay away from processed foods. The
      devil is in the details of your diet as Dr E says moderation kills. Labels on processed foods can say no fat and
      still contain up to 0.5 grams/serving and be in compliance. I periodically get
      my lipids checked and am slowly starting to back off to see where I can enjoy more
      things like walnuts for Omega 3’s and guacamole in my taco salads and how
      adding these things back in affect my cholesterol. Everyone is different and we
      all have to find out how best to control our cholesterol. Dr
      Esselstyn says you can easily get your Omega 3’s from 2 tablespoons of flaxseed
      and I include it with my oatmeal every morning for breakfest. Some people say this diet is drastic but once
      you go from SAD to Vegan you are 90% there. I’ll
      leave the decision on whether to go ahead and take statins as a precautionary measure
      up to you and your Doctor but if you follow these requirements strictly you
      should see your cholesterol start to drop fairly quickly and will be able to
      see the extent to which you can lower it. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional but this is what has worked for me and my
      wife. I wish you all the best. Dr Greger rocks and he is doing a great service to mankind if they will just listen.

    • b00mer

      Hi Rawsan, I agree with the recommendations that HeartHealthy has shared. Beyond no oil, is your diet low in fat overall, i.e. less than 10% of total calories? Foods other than oils can contribute as much or more saturated fat, e.g. adding a can of coconut milk to a recipe adds as much saturated fat as about 1.5 cups of olive oil; 1 avocado has more saturated fat than 2 tbsp of olive oil, and an oz of several types of nuts and seeds have the almost the same amount as 1 tbsp oil. Beyond fat, is your diet predominantly high-fiber whole foods? Apologies if these seem like silly questions and if you are already eating a low fat high fiber diet, but I couldn’t quite tell from your comment.

      If you have already optimized your diet in both of these areas, perhaps you can look into experimenting with particular foods with demonstrated cholesterol lowering effects such as amla, hibiscus tea, flax, etc. And in contrast with the saturated fat focused approach, there are many studies showing cholesterol lowering effects of nut consumption, perhaps due to phytosterols. I’m not sure if these studies are relevant for those already eating whole foods plant based, but you could try omitting nuts if you are eating them, or adding them back in if you’re not and see if it makes a difference for you.

      Perhaps you simply have a rare predisposition towards higher cholesterol. I’m not sure if Dr. Esselstyn actually does personal consultations, but he does have an email on his website which he lists for contacting him regarding cardiovascular disease, and your experience certainly seems unique enough to warrant an expert opinion. Alternatively you could try posting in the forums on Dr. McDougall’s site. Jeff Novick, RD regularly responds to posts in the forums and is extremely knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to number crunching and the nitty gritty details. Dr. McDougall also has contact information listed, but again not sure if personal consultations are available. Forums and contact info are listed below. Best of luck to you and keep us posted with your progress.

      https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/
      https://www.drmcdougall.com/about/contact-us/
      http://www.dresselstyn.com/contact.htm

      • jm

        Dr. Esselstyn answered my sisters email asking about her health situation. Worth a try sending him an email.

    • Joe Caner

      Wow Rawsan! If a low fat, high fiber vegan diet has not helped you to satisfactorily lower your cholesterol levels after seven months, perhaps you should consider re-introduce medication. You said that you have a strong family history of heart disease. You and your family may be genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels, (familial hypercholesterolemia).
      Someone mention Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. It would interesting to know if any of his intervention subjects were diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia. If you haven’t seen his lecture on his study, “Make Yourself Heart Attack Proof,” you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYTf0z_zVs0 – He talks about making yourself heart attack proof by not eating the building blocks of CVD, and the best way to do that is by eating low fat, high fiber vegan diet. So even if you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels, and you need some pharmacological assistance to manage your level, it is best to eat a healthy whole foods plant based diet so you won’t add insult to injury. Good Luck

  • Joe Caner

    I’m kind of bummed. I just found out that my younger brother’s cholesterol has increased from 214 to 236 mg/dl, and there is precious little chance that he is going to make a meaningful dietary intervention. I sent him some information, but not hopeful that he is going to deviate from his middle American, corn fed (once removed) diet. He described his numbers as being a little high. Heck, I re-tooled my entire diet because my numbers nudged over 200 mg/dl. Caldwell Esselstyn’s “Make Yourself Heart Attack Proof” lecture and I entreated him to have carotid artery ultrasound screening to see where he was at. Who know’s, maybe he’ll surprise me.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Good luck Joe. Keep working at it. I hope with patience he will get there. If I may suggest something, encourage small doable changes to start.

  • Susan

    Decades ago, I also switched from beef to chicken to lower my cholesterol and to reduce the pain I felt in my joints. But, it wasn’t until I fractured my spine in 2012, that I went vegan to reduce pain and inflammation and my bad cholesterol really dropped from 300 to 100.

    ALL the foods we have been brainwashed to eat over the decades, we are now learning are destroying our health, especially as we age. To avoid the side effects of drugs, eating healthy vegan is the best option.

    My brother takes the drugs so he can continue eating the foods he grew up eating. The consequence he is paying now is a surgical remedy to protect his heart. Some people never learn.