Dr. Robert Kelly (photo) is associate director and curriculum coordinator for the Fairview Hospital /Cleveland Clinic Family Medicine Residency Program.

He lists aspects of diet and exercise that are most and less effective in controlling cholesterol.

Most beneficial

  • Reduce intake of saturated and trans fats.
  • Increase intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
  • Fortify foods with plant stanols or sterols.
  • Add tree nuts to the diet, while maintaining total caloric intake.
  • Consume 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per day.
  • Adopt a Mediterranean, low-carbohydrate, or low-fat diet.

Smaller benefit but still effective

  • Reduce the intake of dietary cholesterol.
  • Increase intake of soluble fiber and soy protein.
  • Eat fatty marine fish or take marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Red yeast rice supplements have effects similar to those of statin medications and are better tolerated in some patients.
  • Regular aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on lipid levels, particularly if performed for at least 120 minutes per week.

Small effect

  • Brief physician counseling.

The bottom line.

Efforts should concentrate on patients who are motivated and ready to make lifestyle changes.

5/15/10 12:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.