What is the Most Effective and Safest Way to Lower Your Cholesterol as Determined by Scientific Studies?

By Joel Fuhrman, MD.


The answer—Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live.


There is irrefutable evidence that high cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of coronary heard disease (CHD).

It has become increasingly evident that the direct relationship of cholesterol level to risk of heart attack exists at all but the lowest cholesterol levels. These lower levels thought to be truly cardiac protective are best reflected by the recommendations to maintain LDL cholesterol below 100 or total cholesterol below 150 mg/dl. However, less than 10% of the adult population in America actually has cholesterol levels that meet these newest recommendations designed for more significant reduction in cardiac deaths.

The conclusion is that the cholesterol levels in the American population need to be much lower to further reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of premature death in America. The recent trials have led medical authorities to recommend cholesterol-lowering drugs to the vast majority of Americans.

Multiple dietary intervention trials have taken place, however the lack of significant cholesterol lowering and inability of participants to reach the “ideal” cardio protective cholesterol ranges has resulted in the medical literature and most physicians to offer minimal “lip service” to dietary modifications in favor of medications. Most drug trials for cholesterol intervention have demonstrated reduction in total mortality of about 10%, which is important, but somewhat of a disappointment.

When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia. Plus, we are missing the boat on the reduction of cancer incidence that would occur if the population was encouraged to adopt a more healthful and effective dietary approach that would target both leading causes of death--heart disease and cancer.


Lets look at the cholesterol lowering effect of various dietary interventions as documented in published medical journal articles.

Method %- Decrease LDL
American Heart Association br / Standard low fat advice 1
High Protein Atkins’ type2
No significant change
Low fat vegetarian
High olive oil - Mediterranean4
No significant change
Cholesterol lowering medication Statins5
Eat To Live - Fuhrman type6


Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat To Live approach is the only dietary intervention ever been shown in medical studies to lower cholesterol more effectively than cholesterol lowering medication. Other dietary interventions have been relatively ineffective at lowering cholesterol. Though the low-fat vegetarian diet did lower LDL cholesterol 16% it raised triglycerides 18.7% and the LDL/HDL ratio remained unchanged reflecting minimal overall improvement. The Eat To Live approach differed in that the LDL cholesterol was more significantly lowered without unfavorable impact on HDL or triglycerides, reflecting sizable improvement in cardiac risk factors.

The implication of the studies and my corroboratory results obtained in clinical practice with hundreds of patients utilizing the Eat To Live approach indicates that the ability of superior nutrition to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiac deaths has been ignored by our medical authorities, and the population at large. For those desiring more than mediocrity, for true protection against heart disease and premature death, there is a clear-cut answer—Eat To Live. Hopefully, in the near future the mainstream will catch up with this life-saving info.


  1. Bunyard, LB, Dennis KE, Nicklas BJ. Dietary intake and changes in lipoprotein lipids in obese, postmenopausal women placed on an American Heart Association Step 1 diet. J Am diet Assoc 2002 Jan;102(1):52-7.
  2. Sharman MJ, Kraemer WJ, Love DM, et al. A ketogenic diet favorably affects serum biomarkers for cardiovascular disease in normal-weight men. J Nutr 2002 Jul;132(7):1879-85
  3. Barnard ND, Scialli AR, Bertron P, et al. Effectiveness of a low-fat vegetarian diet in altering serum lipids in healthy premenopausal women. Am J Cardiol 2000 Apr 15;85(8):969-72.
  4. Bemelmans WJ, Broer J, de Vries JH, et al. Impact of Mediterranean diet education versus posted leaflet on dietary habits and serum cholesterol in a high risk population for cardiovascular disease. Public Health Nutr. 2000 Sep;3 (3):273-83.
  5. Frolkis JP. Pearce GL, NambiV, et al. Statins do not meet expectations fro lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels when used in clinical practice. Am J Med 2002 Dec 1;113(8):625-9.
  6. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.