To bread, or not to bread?

By Lauren Edwards • Published: November 13th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Can’t get enough out of the bread basket? If you have high cholesterol, new evidence suggests you may want to refrain from the grain.

Study findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine recently concluded a diet low in carbohydrates may improve cholesterol levels more so than low-fat or Mediterranean-type diets.

Three-hundred-twenty-two participants were broken into three groups. Those in the low-fat group were told to consume no more than thirty percent of their calories from fat and restricted total calorie and cholesterol intake. They were told to build their diets around low-fat grains, fruits and veggies.

The Mediterranean group had similar fat, cholesterol and calorie rules, but ate more fish, olive oil and nuts.

Low-carb dieters were given set limits for carbohydrates only, but were encouraged to get their fats and proteins from vegetarian sources.

Participants were given their cholesterol ratio… total cholesterol to H-D-L, the so-called “good” cholesterol… before the study began.

People who lived the low-carb lifestyle were able to decrease this ratio by twenty percent, compared with sixteen percent for those on the Mediterranean diet and twelve percent for those eating low-fat.

And while all three plans helped participants lose weight and improved their cholesterol, it was the low-carb plan that helped dieters lose the most weight. No matter what, remember that moderation and exercise are key to any diet regimen. Advice from a doctor certainly doesn’t hurt.

It’s something to think about while you’re eyeing that breadstick before the main course arrives.