• Glenn Wilson

    What are the effects of oatmeal, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados on LDL cholesterol size?

    Dr. Greger: When one sees headlines like, “Avocados Could Improve Your Cholesterol,” they’re largely talking about substitution experiments, where avocado is added to the diet by replacing animal fats. So, no wonder cholesterol goes down. So, for example, if you take people eating a standard North American diet, including animal fats—dairy and poultry are the two greatest contributors of cholesterol-raising saturated fat intake—they may start out with an LDL up around here. Just add avocado to their diet without doing anything else, and cholesterol does not go down. But, add avocado while reducing saturated fat intake, and cholesterol falls—but no more than just reducing saturated fat while adding nothing.

    Okay, but what if you eat no meat at all, versus no meat with avocado added? They took people with sky-high cholesterol—up around 300—and switched them to a relatively low-fat vegetarian diet, with about 20% of calories from fat, versus a vegetarian diet with added avocado—bringing it up to more of a typical fat content: 30% of calories from fat. This group started out with LDLs through the roof, and while cutting out meat may have helped, cutting out meat and adding avocado seemed to help even more. And, it may help best with the worst type of LDL.

    As I’ve touched on before, all LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol, but large, fluffy LDL may only increase the odds of cardiac events—like heart attacks—31%, whereas small, dense LDL is even worse.

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Avocados Lower Small Dense LDL Cholesterol.

    To see the full transcript or links to cited sources go to the link above, then scroll below the video and click on View Transcript or Sources Cited.

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