Nutrition & Diet Trying to lower LDL


Jan 1, 2024
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  1. Vegetarian
My wife and I went from pescatarians to vegetarians (and vegan when we are cooking at home) over the last few years after reading "How not to die". Last year, both of our LDL levels went from 120 to just under 100 (98 or so). Strangely enough or maybe not as strange, our numbers are correlated since we are together 24x7 and eat pretty much the same food. This is good, because I firmly believe that food has a strong impact on our health (as everyone here knows).

For some reason at this year's checkup our LDL levels went back up to 120. We are scratching our heads. In short:
- both in our late 50's
- no medications
- both at low BMIs (never overweight)
- HDL is also (very) low like 45 - which I know is not great
- Triglycerides - about 80
- no alchohol (minus a glass a wine once a week or so). Only water and my wife drinks coffee.
- exercise daily (mostly walk many miles a day or play some sports)
- Food:
-- vegetarian or vegan. We try for vegan but we do eat out with friends who are not vegetarian/vegan and sometimes we fall back to vegetarian). Although not much dairy or no eggs (specifically) unless in a restaurant meal.
-- oatmeal for breakfast
-- lots of salads (Sweetgreen)
-- lots of beans (all kinds)
-- lots of vegetables and fruits
-- flaxseed

I've read lots of research studies like this one and eat the right things:

We are going to try:
-- much less olive oil
-- much less sugar (we do like desserts)

Besides this, what else can we do to get our LDL numbers back under 100 (and hopefully much lower than that)?
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I think you are on the right track with the oil and sugar.

You read the How Not to Die book, I can't remember if it has a meal plan. If so, you should try it.
If not, Fuhrman's Eat to Live book does have one. You could follow that one.
or PCRM, has one as part of their Vegan Kickstart.
or try the SOS diet that Campbell advocates.

Anyway the point is that maybe for a while you should follow a physician approved meal plan instead of making it up on your own. Then after 3 or 4 weeks you can recheck your LDL.
You might want to keep a food diary ( ).

Many studies have shown people have an inaccurate sense of what they ate unless they wrote it down.

Exercise too has been proven to lower LDL.

Good Luck.
Great idea on the food diary. I will try that.