In an eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 92 overweight subjects with mild high blood cholesterol levels, researchers from Italy examined the effects of artichoke leaf extract (250 mg, twice per day) on serum lipid profiles.
After eight weeks of treatment, subjects given artichoke leaf extract showed significant increases in beneficial HDL cholesterol with significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to subjects given a placebo. The study authors concluded that “these results indicate that [artichoke leaf extract] could play a relevant role in the management of hypercholesterolaemia, favouring in particular the increase in HDL-C, besides decreasing total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.”
Rondanelli M, et al. Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolaemia: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Feb; 64 (1): 7-15.
Supplements of soy protein, but not milk protein, may improve blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and enhance the overall cholesterol balance, according to a new study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Forty grams per day of soy protein was associated with significant decreases in total cholesterol levels, compared to carbohydrate supplements, and improvements in HDL levels, compared with milk protein. “Our study is the first randomized controlled trial to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein and complex carbohydrate on serum lipids,” report researchers from the University of Mississippi, Tulane University and Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
“There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits. Our study provides additional evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of carbohydrate might improve the lipid profile,” they added.
Led by Dr. Jiang He from Tulane University, the researchers recruited 352 healthy adults with an average age of 47.7 to participate in their randomized, controlled trial.
Participants were assigned to receive 40 grams per day supplementation of soy protein, milk protein or complex carbohydrate for eight weeks in a random order.
Results showed that, compared with carbohydrates, the soy protein was associated with a 3.97 mg/dl reduction in total cholesterol levels and a 0.12 mg/dl reduction in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.
In addition, compared to milk protein, the soy protein was associated with a 1.54 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a 0.14 mg/dl decrease in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.
On the other hand, milk protein supplementation was significantly associated with a 1.13 mg/dl decrease in HDL levels, compared to carb supplements, added the researchers.
“Our study suggests that soy protein supplement reduces total cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with carbohydrate, and increases HDL and reduces total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with milk protein,” and “The effect of milk protein did not confer a significant favorable effect on any lipid measures compared with carbohydrate.”
I have many patients that I recommend UltraMeal protein shakes (medical food) to that can contain either whey protein, soy protein or rice protein. It all depends on the individual.
Good Sources of Sat Fats
Somethings are worth saying again – fat is good for us.
Two good sources of fat are saturated (animal) fat and omega-3 fats.
- Omega-3s – These are great for heart health. They protect against cardiovascular disease. They also helps to burn body fat. For good sources of omega-3s enjoy wild fish, avocado, olives, cod liver oil, Sacha Inchi oil, and nuts. I recommend you take supplements called EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com
- Saturated Fats –These fats boost your immune system. They also help you to absorb calcium. Find it in grass-fed beef, raw milk, and raw butter.
You can find healthy sources of fat in these 9 foods:
- Organic butter
- Olive oil
- Raw milk
- Cold water wild fish
- Grass-fed beef
- Free-range chicken
Vegetable oils that you cook with are fats that are highly processed to extend their shelf lives. Saturated fats come from nature, trans fats are almost always man-made. Eliminate the trans fats, they are not essential fats; nor do they promote good health. Margarine is produced at high temperatures which destroys vitamin E, and other nutrients in the oil. The final product contains trans-fatty acids.
Trans-fatty acids increase inflammation in the body (colitis, arthritis, muscle and joint conditions).
I’m OK with butter. It does not contain trans fat. It’s also a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E and K. None of these essential vitamins are found in significant quantities in margarine.
Fats to Avoid
Bad fats are the omega-6s. They are needed for a balanced diet, but only in small amounts. You need a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the foods you eat. You can avoid high levels of omega-6, by not eating grain-fed beef, processed foods, and vegetable oil. Avoid processed, packaged foods like potato chips, cookies, cakes, and bottled salad dressings.
Here’s a short list of foods which contain trans fats:
- Hardened Margarines and shortenings
- Bottled salad dressings
- Fried fast foods
- Corn chips
- French fries
- Fried meats like chicken and fish
- Baked goods including biscuits, breads, cakes, cookies and crackers
Let talk about Fat:
My mother in law has cooked with olive oil her whole life. She was a very heavy lady until she had gastric bypass surgery. But she doesn’t have heart disease. Her kids are healthy& robust. Her family appears to enjoy good health. My mom always cooked with butter instead of margarine. When the fad went to vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats, we tossed out natural saturated fats and embraced trans fats. This was a big, big mistake.
Fat is an important part of diet. The simple truth about fat is: you have to eat fat to lose fat. I just need you to eat the right kind of fat.
Fat fell out of favor at the end of the 70’s. Once the 80’s hit, the government told us that animal fats caused heart disease. The Government Guidelines recommended we limit our saturated fat to less than 10 percent of our daily calories. Americans started buying low-fat products. However, over the next two decades, we have seen an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
Now in 2010 the latest science is supporting saturated fats again. In the March edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers attribute America’s obesity and bad health to carbs – not saturated fats. I believe cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease is linked to too much carbs in the diet. Reducing saturated fat in the diet does not prolong life or lower the incidence of coronary heart disease.
The real killer is trans-fatty acids, not saturated fat. Trans fat should be omitted from our diet, period.
I don’t care if my patients get about 50 percent of their fat intake from saturated fat. I want to see “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels, and no problems with insulin resistance. High HDL is the most reliable way to prevent heart disease.
I recommend eating a diet with good-quality protein and good-quality fat.
Most of the nutritionist I talk to, recommend fats and oils for good health. Why?
Fats including the Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA-DHA 720) – a deficiency can lead to depression, dementia, lack of concentration and a host of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Eat the right fats and you will:
- Burn fat
- Increase weight loss
- Increase your metabolism
- Reduce inflammation
- Become more sensitive to insulin, which will balance your blood sugar
I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics as a good source of omega 3 fatty acids
I get asked this question on a daily basis. I start with talking about the diet, especially the carb’s (sugars). I suggest limiting added sugar in the diet to no more than 100 -150 calories a day. That’s about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. To put this in perspective, the average 12-ounce can of regular soda has between 8 and 10 teaspoons of sugar. A breakfast cereal with 16 grams of sugar per serving has about 4 teaspoons. Currently most people’s daily consumption of added sugars averages about 360 calories a day, or 16% of total daily calories. About three decades ago it was only around 6%.
Sugar consumption is directly related to HDL and triglyceride levels. The more sugar you eat, the lower your HDL (good cholesterol) and higher your triglycerides will be.
Compared to people who eat the least sugar, people who eat the most sugar are about three times more likely to have low HDL levels.
Start with the goal of no more than 100 to 150 calories a day of added sugar. Read food labels because they don’t distinguish between added sugars and those that occur naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Don’t be misled. When a label has the word ‘syrup’ or ‘evaporated cane juice’ or words that end in ‘ose’ like sucrose, fructose, and dextrose, these are added sugars.
Beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugar in the diet, especially soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks.
I recommend the Paleo diet or the Mediterranean Diet – these diets are based on fruits, vegetables, seeds & nuts, good-fats, dairy, and meats. They are low in added sugars. I also recommend clients take omega 3 fish oils. and use UltraMeal medical food shakes. Both of these are from Metagenics.
Order EPA-DHA 720 & UltraMeal @ www.DrJeffreyTucker.com
Cholesterol is a necessary part of almost all metabolic processes in the body. Without it we could not survive.
In the early 80s there were some landmark studies linking cholesterol levels to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Since then, all kinds of conclusions have been made as to what this means, what numbers are “normal”, and how those numbers change depending on your medical history.
Drug companies have invented a class of drugs called statins that lower plasma cholesterol levels from 10-50%, depending on the type of drug given and the amount. Statins are prescribed so frequently that they are now a multi-billion dollar industry.
Unfortunately, they also have side effects that can be devastating to some patients. In my practice, I have had to take many patients off their statin drugs because of side effects such as muscle pains, aching, and fatigue. In addition, the medical community has no long term studies (20-30 years) to see what the consequences of taking statins will be.
Here are some facts to keep in mind.
•There has been no evidence that having low cholesterol reduces the risk of first time heart attack. In fact, half of those with a first time heart attack have normal cholesterol levels. In a study of 10,000 people comparing those taking a statin to those that did not but maintained their weight and exercised, there was no difference in outcome of any kind.1 Did you get that?
•There is LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Statins lower both, and the problem is we want to see HDL increased. In fact, it seems that heart health results more from increasing HDL than lowering LDL. Drug companies are scrambling to find a drug that raises HDL, but so far without success. Only exercise and the B vitamin, niacin, have been proven to raise HDL.
My personal heart disease prevention plan looks like this:
1. High intensity exercise on a consistent & regular basis
2. A diet consisting of natural foods — high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in trans fats
3. EPA-DHA Fish oil supplements, 3-4 grams daily (Metagenics EPA-DHA 720)
4. Multi-vitamin/mineral supplements (Metagenics Wellness Essentials for Men)
5. UltraMeal shake (2 scoops per day) by Metagenics
6. Coenzyme Q10 (Metagenics NanoCell Q10 200 mg daily)
7. Grass-fed beef to increase omega-3 fatty acids
8. Green tea extract for extra antioxidants (Metagenics Celepro)
Instead of rushing to take a statin, find a physician you trust and take some time to talk to him or her about your particular situation. You may find that with a proper diet, nutritional supplements, and moderate exercise, your risk of a heart attack from all causes can be dramatically reduced.
1. JAMA December 18, 2002;288:1998-3007,3042-3044.
2. NEJM November 27, 1997 Vol 337 number 22:1631-1633.