Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Adapted from the revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life, now available!

There are literally hundreds of respected scientific studies that demonstrate that as animal products increase in a population's diet, cholesterol levels soar and the occurrence of heart disease increases proportionally with the increase in animal product intake.1 Saturated fat is the element of the modern diet that shows the most powerful association in these medical research studies with high cholesterol and premature death from heart attacks.2

Though saturated fat is the most heart-disease-promoting substance in animal products, it is not merely saturated fat and cholesterol in animal products that is the problem. Animal protein raises cholesterol too. Those who cut out red meat and instead eat plenty of chicken and fish do not see substantial changes in their cholesterol levels or a profound reduction in cardiac events.3

If you are looking for maximum protection from heart disease, your diet must receive 90 to 100 percent of its calories from unrefined plant foods. If you choose to include a small amount of animal products in your diet, white meat chicken and white meat turkey are better choices, but if you have more than one or two servings a week, you are not going to see optimal results. One serving of a non-polluted fish a week, and one serving of white meat fowl is the maximum amount of animal products permitted. Any more than that will prevent the huge drop in cholesterol level and heart disease risk observed from eating a plant-based diet style.

Books touting the benefits of high-protein diets for weight-loss are very popular because they appeal to the many Americans who are looking to maintain their addiction to high-fat, nutrient-inadequate, animal foods. These consumers form a huge market for such topsy-turvy, scientific-sounding quackery. All animal products are severely deficient in fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants--and contain too much saturated fat, cholesterol, and arachadonic acid.

As animal product consumption goes up in a country or population, so does heart attacks; as animal product utilization goes down, so does heart attacks. One cannot prevent or reverse heart disease while one continues to consume significant amounts of animal foods.


In some countries, such as Mozambique, the Fiji Islands, and Guatemala, where few refined foods are eaten and animal products account for less than 10% of the calories consumed, their populations are virtually free from heart disease.

Guidelines to lower your cholesterol naturally that can save your life

Restrict or eliminate animal products: A few ounces of white meat turkey, once a week and a small piece of fish once a week is the maximum one should consume if seriously looking for cardiac reversal or protection and only these animal products, low in saturated fat should be eaten. If eating animal products, only eat 4-6 ounces of white meat turkey or white meat chicken per week, using them as a condiment in soups or a vegetable dish or sandwich. Low mercury fish such as tilapia, flounder, sole or scrod are also permitted in the range of 4-8 ounces per week. Non-fat dairy or an egg white omelet may also be consumed once per week.

Eliminate all processed grains and sweeteners: No white flour, white rice, processed breakfast cereals, sugar or other sweeteners. Instead, use one serving of whole grains daily such as brown rice, millet amaranth, oats, and barley. If using pasta occasionally, use whole wheat, bean or lentil pasta, not white flour pasta.

Do not use oil: Instead, use nuts and avocado to flavor dressings and sauces. Oil is a high calorie food, with the vast majority of nutrients lost. In comparison, the use of raw nuts and seeds such as flax, walnuts, and sunflower seeds have shown remarkable protective effects for both heart disease and cancer. When you consume your fat in nature's protective package, (nuts and seeds) in place of extracted oils, you get the lignins and flavonoids and other valuable nutrients that support excellent health.

For example, flax seed oil is also oil and just like other oils it contains 120 calories per tablespoon. Ground flax seeds contain lignans, flavonoids beneficial fibers, sterols and a host of other beneficial substances and only has 30 calories per tablespoon. Eat the food not the extracted oil. Excessive amounts of oil are not favorable. Even too much of the benefical oil in flax is linked to higher rates of prostate cancer.4

1. Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, et al. Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group. Eur J Epidemiol 1999 Jul;15(6):507-515.

2. Kromhout D, Menotti A, Bloemberg B, et al. Dietary saturated and trans fatty acids and cholesterol and 25-year mortality form coronary heart disease; the Seven Countries Study. Prev Med 1995;24(3):308-315. Oomen CM, Ocke MC, Feskens EJ, et al. Association between trans fatty acid intake and 10-year risk of coronary heart disease in the Zutphen Elderly study: a prospective population-based study. Lancet 2001;357(9258):746-751. Lemaitre RN, King IB, Raghunathan TE, et al. Cell membrane trans-fatty acids and the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Circulation 2002;105(6):697-701. Kromhout D. Diet and cardiovascular diseases J Nutr Health Aging 2001;5(3):144-149. Hu FB, Manson JE, Willett WC. Types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20(1):5-19. Lichtenstein AH, Van Horn L. Very low fat diets. Circulation 1998;98(9):935-939.

3. Tang JL, Armitage JM, Lancaster T, et al. Systematic review of dietary intervention trials to lower blood total cholesterol in free-living subjects. BMJ 1998 Apr 18;316(7139):1213-1220.

4. Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL, et al. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr 2004 Apr;134(4):919-922.

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Comments (17) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Greg - June 13, 2006 9:42 PM

So, even small portions of grass-fed, lean beef is no good? There is alot of confusing info.
I am trying to get off Advicor - I am looking into joining your site. I've just been burned a few too many times by the "experts" no offense.
I grew up in Pennsauken, NJ so I learned how to be direct :-)

mrtruth - June 14, 2006 8:25 AM

actually, Dr. you are wrong again. On so many points it's hard to keep up!

a high fat moderate protein low carb diet has been shown in DOZENS of tests to improve lipid profiles. I am not making this up, it is solid science.

Also, there is zero evidence that sat. fat is unhealthy.

And if it is, answer me this:

1)How did we humans manage to survive all these eons, particularly early humans who didnt have the benefit of your advice to put down that tasty wooly mamoth fatback and to chew some brocoli instead.

2) Inuits.

3) Masai

(primitive societies found to be eating only fat and protein and living without heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. etc.)

4) Mother's milk. Guess what it's made of? that's right 50% fat, mostly saturated! also 25% protein, 25% carbs.

Greg - June 14, 2006 9:18 AM

Who is this Mr. Truth?
Have you ever introduced yourself and your credentials or background?
I know anyone can post here... but please don't add your two cents here and confuse the issues more without backing them up with more than your ego, who are you Mr. Truth?

Greg - June 14, 2006 9:46 AM

Gerry, just wondering who you are as I thought Dr. Fuhrman would only post here.
I notice on some of your posts that you eat chicken and fish small amounts I assume- this works for you? Any lean meat or no red meat? Dairy or no?
I am wondering about your story/journey too? What brings you here? Thanks!

mrtruth - June 14, 2006 9:46 AM

who I am is irrelevant...

what is relevant is that there are loads of studies that directly contradict every thing Dr. F. has to say about meat, low carb diets, Atkins, etc.

which would be ok, fine, but since Dr. F chooses to attack the low carb diet, a diet I have used to maintain a 40 pound weight loss for 4 years, with a spectacular lipid profile, I feel compelled to respond. With SCIENCE.

btw, Greg, grass fed meat is great stuff, I eat loads of it.

Greg - June 14, 2006 10:55 AM

Mr. Truth- what are your lipid numbers? Your height/weight? How did you lose, meaning what did you eat and what did you cut out of your diet?
Are you more Atkins or South Beach?
I did try South Beach, lost but it all came back.
There are many low-carb variations.
I'm interested in hearing more conversation about this.
Maybe we can leave the attacks out?

Michael - June 14, 2006 11:00 AM

Improving lipid profiles does not equate to heart disease reversal. Read studies done by Dr. Dean Ornish. Not only were cholesterol levels tested, angiograms measured the blockage of the arteries and PET scans measured the blood flow to the heart. These other tests are much more accurate ways to measure heart disease progression/regression.
In order to use the Inuit and Masai to support theories, you have to look at all of the factors. There lives are drastically different than the average American. They are also not the healthiest populations by any stretch of the imagination.
I would like to see where you got your information on mother's milk. It sounds closer to what cow mother's milk is, not human.

mrtruth - June 14, 2006 11:32 AM


it's been awhile since I last had a lipid profile, it was after I had been low carbing for about a year.

first, let me say that I think the lipid hypothesis is pure bunk. To the degree that it may be valid, it could be argued that high HDL, low triglycerides, and low blood sugar are far more important than LDL and than your total cholestoral (a nonsense number, really). So, as best I can recall, my LDL was 180 or 190. Sounds scary high, right? Turns out that when you eat follow a sensible low carb diet, you generally end up with more large LDL, which are the good kind. In my case, I dont know, since I havent tested for that (but I will be scheduling a test in the near future). At any rate, I really dont care about thae LDL number, it is probably about the same as it was before I low carbed (according to most reliable studies, that is generally what happens - LDL stays about the same, HDL, triglycerides, and blood sugar are vastly improved.)
Otherwise, my HDL was very very high, and my triglycerides were ridiculously low, as was my blood sugar.

as for my diet - I started on Atkins, but sorta gravitated to a quasi-paleo approach. I eat eggs, sausage, cheese, beef (mostly grass-fed), chicken, all sorts of seafood, pork, and loads of low starch vegetables - brocoli, asparagus, spinach, etc. etc. I also use butter liberally, and mayo too. I eat cashews from time to time. I eat some fruit, sparingly. Maybe a banana, or an orange, here and there. And I just recently started making my own low carb ice cream - it tastes great!

I'm 6'0, and currently weigh 195. I lost most of the weight in the first six months, and have maintained the loss since then. I need to lose another 15 pounds at least - low carb helps, but calories do, in the end, count. TO lose that last bit, I would need to start doing some portion control, or calorie control, I suppose. Anyway, I stick to it because I feel fantastic, and I absolutely belief this is the natural way for humans to eat, based on paleo man's diet, and everything we know about lipids, etc. By the way, recent studies have shown that carb restricion can help with Alzheimers, and extreme carb restriction can help with Parkinson's.

Michael - June 14, 2006 12:02 PM

Interesting. When Dr. Ornish conducted studies on heart disease reversal, he found that LDL had the strongest correlation with reversing heart disease. He was measuring cholesterol levels and measuring artery blockage and blood flow to the heart using angiograms and PET scans. Using the three of these gives you much more information and ability to draw conclusions than just cholesterol levels. I would be very concerned if my LDL was 180, regardless of anything else.
You've only been doing this for 1 year. That is not a lot of time. I feel great when I drink alcohol, but I know it's not good for me.
I have difficulty believing that the majority of our ancestors ate huge quantities of meat. It is far more difficult to hunt down game than to pick and eat plants.

Greg - June 14, 2006 1:14 PM

Mr. Truth- thanks for the comments.
By the way, have you read anything by Loren Cordain? He is considered an expert on the Paleo Diet and he recommends very lean meats, tons of fruit/veggies and very low consumption of saturated fats.
He has two books and a website, check it out.
Alot going on in these postings - any comment from Dr. Fuhrman or are all his comments in other related posts?

mrtruth - June 14, 2006 3:08 PM

I'm not in the least bit worried about my LDL, which is why I havent gotten around to doing another test. my contention is that the lipid profile is based on some very shoddy science. For more info, check out www.thincs.org, www.theomnivore.com,www.westonaprice.org, just for starters.

as for your ancestors, they most certainly ate meat, and lots of it. That's how you got that great big brain of yours. I think it's called the expensive tissue theory - or something like that. the basic idea is that a big brain combined with a small stomach requiires a very compact source of energy. such as... drumroll please.... FAT! talk about nutrient dense, there's no food in the world more packed with essential nutrients than fat and protein rich meat.

Yes, I've heard of Cordain and his lean meat theory. Could be, but a lot of other writers in that field argue that there was plenty of not-lean meat available, and there is no reason to assume it wasnt consumed with gusto. after all, they didnt have the benefit of "Eat to Live" to guide their eating choices!

as to the gathering versus meat eating argument, in prehistoric times, it would be very very very laborious to collect all the plant food needed to sustain life - remember, there's no green grocer or farmers market, much less a piggly wiggly down the street! Much easier to hunt down some big game. Or actually, very early humans are theorized to have been scavengers - eating carcuses left behind by bigger predators.

Henry Abbott - June 14, 2006 5:38 PM

This same argument has come up several times, and has been dealt with pretty comprehensively, but I like the conversation!

Here's an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman's reaction to a previous, similar post:
"Fortunately we have a comprehensive body of knowledge today with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950's documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetable and beans and the increase risk of cancer and heart disease. Thousands of research scientists don't agree with Barry Groves' meat-centered diet recommendations and the platform of the Weston Price Foundation." That's followed by a whole bunch of studies. You can read it all by cutting and pasting this link into your browser: http://tinyurl.com/frhnx

You also might consider clicking on the Diet Myths category and scanning those posts for more related posts.

mrtruth - June 14, 2006 6:06 PM

yeah, well, henry, when you look a little closer at those actual studies, as many have, you'll find they actually prove nothing of the sort. Unless your standard of evidence is extremely low.

Helena - September 14, 2006 10:44 AM

I just stumbled upon this post again, and wanted to address the remark about mother's milk. It is most certainly not 25% protein, more like 5%. Too much protein is dangerous for babies, that's one reason why they cannot tolerate regular cow's milk.

Neal - December 6, 2006 5:15 AM

Interesting reading regarding protein and evolution:

Nutrition and Evolution...Michael Crawford, David Marsh

Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of its Nature and Current Implications... S. Boyd Eaton M.D. and Melvin Konner P.H.D New England Journal of Medicine Jan 31 1985 Vol 312 No. 5

Paleolithic vs. modern diets - selected pathophysiological implications... S.Boyd Eaton European Journal of Nutrition Vol 39 Num 2 (2000)

The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic...
Loren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002) 56, Suppl 1

A Hypothesis to Explain the Role of Meat-Eating in Human Evolution...Katharine Milton in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology

Dietary lean red meat and human evolution...Neil Mann European Journal of Nutrition 39: 71-79 (2000)

Dietary Intake of Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids during the Paleolithic... S. Boyd Eaton et al.

k johnson - December 19, 2006 12:18 PM

Low carbing carnivore for 5 months and put my cholestorol numbers into perfection.

low carb is the way

sugar is the enemy

look at your teeth you meat eaters!!


Ashley - December 29, 2006 10:20 PM

Anthony Colpo exposes the lack of scientific basis behind the Lipid Hypothesis.

Read his articles thoroughly.

You will soon see the Cholesterol Theory is a complete sham.

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