Losing weight can improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as your waistline, according to a major new intervention study. The study found similar weight loss amounts could be achieved by lower-fat or lower-carbohydrate diets, whether the lower-carb diet was rich in walnuts or in monounsaturated fat (as in canola or olive oils).
Switching to soy flour doesn't help improve cholesterol levels, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers compared muffins made with soy protein, with a mixture of soy and wheat, and with a whey-protein control on 213 adults with elevated LDL cholesterol.
At least part of the proven cardiovascular benefits of eating nuts can be explained by their effects on cholesterol and other blood lipids, according to new Tufts research.
A newly published followup to findings from a study of the so-called Mediterranean diet adds to the evidence that such an eating pattern, especially when it includes nuts and olive oil, may help protect the aging brain. Results from a subgroup of the Spanish PREDIMED study showed that those assigned to a Mediterranean diet held steady in cognition while a control group declined. While previous observational studies have linked a traditional Mediterranean-style dietary pattern to cognitive protection, this is the first such evidence from a large randomized clinical trial.
Scientists may now better understand at least one way in which coffee could help to protect against cardiovascular disease. A large new Korean study reports that people drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 41% less likely to show signs of coronary artery calcium than non-coffee drinkers. This calcification is an early indicator of the artery-clogging plaques (atherosclerosis) that cause coronary artery disease, which afflicts nearly 16 million Americans. (See box.)
Not so long ago, avocados were a seasonal delicacy in most of the country, and when they were available, their high fat content scared away health-conscious consumers. With loosened import rules from Mexico, however, sales of Hass avocados (about 95% of the US market) have more than doubled in the past decade. Last year, Americans peeled about 4.25 billion avocados, and in February avocados even boasted their own Super Bowl commercial.
Products containing coconut, coconut oil and coconut milk are popping up everywhere, with marketers touting coconut as the latest superfood. But a recent warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration cautions coconut boosters not to overreach. The FDA warned that coconut products cant be labeled as healthy if they contain more than 1 gram of saturated fat or more than 15% of calories come from saturated fat. Some have claimed that the saturated fat in coconut is different because its mostly lauric acid, which a few small studies suggest is metabolized differently than other saturated fats. But the FDA isnt buying that argument, noting that coconut products might contain as much as 16 grams of saturated fat per serving.
If youre over age 40, the odds are nearly one in four that youre taking statin medications to improve your cholesterol levels. And if doctors and patients follow prevention guidelines released earlier this year, almost half the over-40 population would be taking the prescription drugs, including almost all men ages 60 to 75. …
Look for the next step in the FDAs proposed crackdown on trans fats to come this spring, as the agency extended its comment period on the rule to March 8. Late last year, the FDA proposed revoking the fats status as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), which would lead to a phase-out of trans fats in most food products.
When the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association released new guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease in November, the headlines all focused on their controversial recommendations for statin use. Almost lost in the coverage was another set of ACC/AHA recommendations, which looked at diet and physical activity rather than drugs for reducing cardiovascular risk. Whether your physician has prescribed statin medications or not, these Lifestyle Management Guidelines can help protect your heart.