Consumers Turn to Food to Lower LDL Cholesterol

Many people are turning to foods before they try drugs to lower their LDL cholesterol, and the food industry is well-armed to respond.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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"We chose this avenue since it was unique to the fluid dairy category and would help those individuals who are avoiding the healthy aspects of dairy -- calcium, protein, and other nutrients -- for fear of increasing their cholesterol," Johnson adds. "We were able to do so with great flavor and lower fat."

The versatile soybean, a natural source of plant sterols, can be a valuable aid to lowering cholesterol as a source of both sterols and fiber. A 2003 report in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. states, "To enhance the effectiveness of diet in lowering cholesterol ... emphasize diets low in saturated fat, together with plant sterols and viscous fibers, and the American Heart Assn. supports the use of soy protein and nuts."

Multiple studies suggest consumption of soy foods can lead to better health. The U.K.'s Joint Health Claims Initiative declares 25g of soy protein daily, as part of a diet low in saturated fat can help reduce blood cholesterol. "Health authorities in many countries, including Brazil, Japan, Korea and the Philippines, have approved claims linking the consumption of soy with improved cardiovascular health," says Tom Woodward, vice president of sales and marketing for Devansoy Inc. (, Carroll, Iowa.

"It's obvious that with so many positive links between soy and health, consumers are really beginning to understand the potential benefits," he continues. "In addition, brands are leveraging this trend and developing products and promotions that address the ties between soy and cardiovascular health."

The maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels can fit neatly into nearly any lifestyle, and match virtually any taste. Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases with diet can be as simple as breaking old habits, both on the side of consumers and manufacturers.

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