High Cholesterol? Dietitian May Help

Study Shows Drop in LDL 'Bad' Cholesterol After Patients With High Cholesterol Visit Registered Dietitian

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on March 07, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

March 7, 2008 -- Looking to tame your high cholesterol? New research shows what results you might get if you consult a registered dietitian.

The University of Michigan's Katherine Rhodes, PhD, RD, and colleagues studied data on 219 U.S. adults with high cholesterol.

All of the patients consulted a registered dietitian at least once about their high cholesterol during the 17-month study. During that time, they either weren't taking cholesterol drugs or didn't change to a different cholesterol drug.

By the end of the study, almost 45% of the patients cut their LDL "bad" cholesterol by at least 15% and/or met their LDL cholesterol goal. That includes 12% of the patients who cut their LDL cholesterol by at least 30%.

The patients also cut back on fat, including saturated fat, after visiting a nutritionist. And they lost a modest amount of weight -- about 2% of their weight, on average -- and reported exercising more often.

Would they have improved as much without a visit to a nutritionist? That's not clear, since the study didn't include a comparison group of patients who didn't consult a nutritionist. And the findings may not apply to all cholesterol patients.

The study appears in February's edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

(Have you tried nutrition counseling to lower your cholesterol? Would you? Join the discussion on WebMD's Cholesterol Support Group board.)

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Rhodes, K. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 2008; vol 108: pp 332-339.

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