Diet Rich in Beans, Lentils, Peas Lowers LDL
Written by Editor   
Monday, April 07, 2014 12:00 AM

People who consumed a serving a day of dietary "pulses" -- such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas -- significantly reduced their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a meta-analysis concluded.  Those whose diets included a median pulse intake of 130 g/d had lower LDL cholesterol levels than those on a control diet.

The results were "equivalent to a reduction of about 5% from baseline" and consistent with the results of two previous meta-analyses.

"This is important especially for patients with hypercholesterolemia who prefer dietary approaches to managing their cholesterol levels, or for those who cannot tolerate statin therapies."

The biggest challenge, the authors said, may be getting people to consume enough of pulses to make the impact. Many people, they said, consume far less than the 130 g/d observed in the study.  "The current median intake level in the United States is 0.2 servings daily, and in Canada only 13% consume dietary pulses on any given day, with a median intake of only about 0.5 servings daily among those who do consume them," the authors said.