Hello, I am 56 years old, non smoker, ... - Cholesterol Support

Cholesterol Support
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Hello, I am 56 years old, non smoker, normal BMI (5ft 1, 8st 7lb). My latest test show total cholesterol is 6.7, LDL 3.9, HDL 2.4.


My GP says that as I a not in the 'high risk' category there is no need for me to take statins but I even though my diet is very healthy I want to take statins for peace of mind as my father had a lot of strokes and was a non smoker and not overweight. I worry every day about this and want to ask if you think I should consider going back to my GP. Not a day goes by without me worrying about having a heart attack or stroke as I cannot lower my total cholesterol. Thank you.

21 Replies

You say your diet is very healthy, but is it a cholesterol lowering diet as in either the UCLP or the Portfolio diet? (not the usual low fat one that GP's hand out - this didnt lower my cholesterol one bit). The UCLP diet is found on the main Heart UK site and you can google the Portfolio diet. These have lowered my cholesterol from 8.9 to 7.5.

Please dont take statins unless you really have to, I would think from your levels it really isnt necessary. Speaking from personal experience and the experiences of many other people on this website and my family members, statins are just too risky to take unless you have Familial Hypercholesterolaemia which you do not have as your cholesterol levels are just not high enough. You do have high levels of HDL - the "good" cholesterol too which should protect you from strokes and heart disease. Cholesterol is not the only factor in heart disease and unless you have other risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of physical exercise you should be ok. Statins can produce awful side effects such as memory loss, muscle wastage to name but a few the dangers are well documented both on the internet and this site.

Your cholesterol levels are not that high, they would be considered normal in some countries such as France, Switzerland which have low levels of heart disease, so please dont worry so much!

Hope this helps,

best wishes

Deep Blue

in reply to deepblue

Thank you for your help and I will look at the diet you mention straight away. I will put off asking my GP for statins too. I just get anxious about it all but when things get explained I feel better and will no doubt keep looking at your reply to reassure me from time to time. Feel a bit better now Deep Blue!

Hi sudihill,

Good advice from Deepblue. I haven't tried the specialist diets but people on this site are proof that they do work.

I agree about statins, and it is my personal opinion that they are powerful drugs and you really don't want to take them unless really necessary. If you are worried could you ask your GP to do one of these risk calculations for heart disease and stroke.

You can buy a really low dose statin over the counter now. I think it's marketed as Zocor and contains 5mg simvastatin which is a much lower dose than on prescription.

Personal opinion only, statins are cleverly marketed and their effect on preventing "events" is not as spectacular as some people believe.

There are many diet alternatives to statins. Try the "Benecol" range of products (the plant sterols in the product are from the same stable as the plant from which statins are derived), eat more oat based cereals and perhaps change to oat milk (I did because of dietary problems and have to avoid dairy and as a result my cholesterol figures improved), keep up exercise, (you don't need to go to the gym every day, just walk for about an hour a day at a good pace to get the old heart pumping!) and watch the carbs, not too much sugar. All the best and don't worry, statins are not the be all and end all, and need to be avoided unless absolutely necessary e.g. (if you are suffering from FH or have had some sort of heart problem where the lowering of cholesterol is a necessary part of post-care treatment)

in reply to patch14

Good advise Patch14

Consider which Oat Milk though - last time I checked there is one brand that has beta glucans in and one that doesn't. I won't name names here.

The one who does has a patent, that the other can't copy. So not all oat milks are alike.


Hi sudihill,

I echo the advice of Deepblue - as a Nutritionist (albeit no longer a practising one as working in Industry) - I come across so many people with metabolic disorders who say they are eating a 'healthy diet' (but when it comes to backing this up - by food diary or simply a conversation - it is simply not the case. The most frustrating cases are when you later find out they are following the recommendations of a GP who equates low fat (or worse still reducing high 'dietary' cholesterol foods) as sufficient.

Of course you may well be following a healthy diet - so I don't want to instantly assume otherwise. If you'd like to share some more detail I'm sure myself and others will be happy to help. I "heartily" recommend both the diets mentioned - but taking something from a website and dropping it straight into real life with jobs, commitments and personal tastes is not always as easy to do as to say. So happy to help.

Good luck



If you continue to worry about having a stroke or a heart attack that is much more likely to cause them than cholesterol as stress and tension are very common causes. Try to have a positive attitude to the future without those worries hanging over you, enjoy your life you could live to ver 100.

Thank you for latest coments 'betabalance & 2squirrels'.

If only I had found this website sooner as I have felt much more positive and relaxed about things since joining this week- so a plus already!!!

I will definately have more questions about nutrition which will help me so much as for the last 3 years I have been online researching by myself and was totally confused by it all. Basically I need someone to tell me it's ok to eat and to be honest I was concerned that I was on the verge of a mild form of eating disorder. I have driven my other half MAD!!! So to all of you who are willing to help me.... YOU HAVE MADE ME SO HAPPY! :)

Thanks too patch14!

Right this is my usual daily diet and have marked with (*) the changes I have made after reading the portfolio diet.

Breakfast:- 1 cup of tea with flora proactrive(FPA) milk and 1tsp Argave Nectar.

Cereal - Oatiflakes with 2tbs *(Moonflake oatbran), FPA milk and fresh fruit

(blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or whatever I have)

Lunch:- 1 slice wholegrain bread (*now oatbran) FPA spread, either beetroot, salad,

MiniCol Cheese. *(2 oatcakes) with 2tsp Wholeearth Organic Peanut Butter with

half banana.

Snack:- * (Alpro yogurt), small handful pistachios now *(almonds)

Dinner:- I try and make all my own prepared meals mainly for economical reasons as

I find they go further. Just bought The Hairy Dieters and it's a good recipe book

to follow. I have 1 square of 75%+ dark chocolate. 1 Glass of red wine.

My downfall is I forget to drink water or anything really during the day but plan to improve on that. So if anyone can correct my diet feel free as I am not sure if this is good or not! Just a couple of questions I bought oatcakes yesterday and I notice they contain palm oil is that good or not and what are the healthiest ones to buy? I love cheese and I was eating the WykeFarm super light somerset mature but recently changed to MiniCol is that good? Also I love poached eggs and cannot eat them anymore as there are so many different opinions, are they ok to eat?

I have just started very slowly on my husband's cross trainer and can just about manage 6 minutes twice a day but hope to increase this slowly as I have dodgy knees!

Feel free to pick away at my daily diet and I welcome any adjustments.

Just realised is it ok to mention brands - sorry if it's not!

Am not an expert on nutrition but have read that palm oil is not good. Not sure if oatcakes are all that nutritious anyway as they are highly processed. Dont think you need to overdo the oats, just for breakfast would work. Ground Flax seed (linseed) or psyllium husk is supposed to reduce cholesterol too, so you could sprinkle a couple of tablespoons onto yoghurt, soup or cereals. You can buy these from health food shops or flax from the supermarkets. I grind my own in a coffee grinder but you can get it already ground. As far as I am aware eggs are now considered safe and very nutritious. Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds have also been found to lower cholesterol so you could include these too on a daily basis - a couple of tablespoons of seeds and about 20 nuts should do it. Eat as much fruit and veg as you can, especially apples which contain pectin and this supposedly lowers cholesterol too. Avoid eating too much cheese or dairy if you can. Increase your fish intake too, especially oily fish like mackeral, herring, salmon, trout and use natural oils like extra virgin olive oil. Pulses are good to lower cholesterol too.

This is very much like a mediterranean diet really except for the oats and soya.

One reason to eat oats (or barley beta glucans for that matter) = In an analysis of the practical daily dose ranges of oat soluble fibre there was a small but significant decrease in blood total and LDL cholesterol per 1 gram of soluble fibre, -0.040 mmol/L and –0.037 mmol/L, respectively.

So I'm all for regular portions beyond just a bowl in the morning. Oats are one of the few foods to retain a cholesterol reduction claim under new EFSA rules - even Soya has lost it's claim (but there is a long story that I could bore people with on that if anyone is interested).

Palm oil is not one of the worst fats used in the food industry nutritionally - but unpopular as IF it is unethically sourced it is a culprit of destroying the rainforests of Asia and taking the Orangutans with it. Most UK food companies are should be sourcing responsibly these days. I love oat cakes - hardly overprocessed. The recipe is wholegrain oats and as old as time (in terms of processed foods).

I too have no issue with an eggs - in moderation. Couldn't live without them myself.


Should of said - I like the look of what you are planning. Is this 100% of the week - or are there some slips?

By the look of it only small changes so will be interesting to see what impact these have on your reading in a few months time.

Best of luck


Yes more or less 100% of the time as I will eat most things and especially if I know it is good for me so I hardly have any slips as I get mad with myself after for eating it so now I don't bother. The only thing I find hard is my sweet tooth as I really miss biscuits, cakes, sweets, ice cream, milk chocolate..... mmm. Never mind eh!

Very good - let us know how you get on.

On going without. I know. But get the levels down first and then I'm sure the occasional treat is fine. Just make sure you get them down first.


The diet that got my cholesterol down by 1.4 is:

Breakfast - oats, quinoa or buckwheat with soy milk, 2 tblsp ground flax seed and 23 almonds (as suggested in portfolio diet). Berries or banana.

Lunch - soup containing pulses and lots of veggies or salad with chicken/fish, olive oil dressing

Dinner - oily fish (2 or 3 times a week), chicken, turkey, pulses,(red meat no more than 2 times a week), potatoes,brown rice or sweet potato, lots of vegetables or salad

Snacks - soy yoghurt, apples or pears, nuts and other fruit to replace sweet things (still have one pud or couple small biscuits, chocolate per week, as have a sweet tooth too and cant totallty eliminate these)

I dont eat much bread or pasta from choice as wheat/sugar appears to aggravate my dermatitis and gives me palpitations, think I may have an allergy/intolerance to them as I also get hayfever (wheat and sugar are grass family);. Unfortunately oats are too, but I eat them for my cholesterol. I only eat a small portion of carbs in the evening and for breakfast as its the only way I can seem to lose weight. (My BMI is 24.8 and doc has advised me to lose weight around my middle)

I followed this diet after a lot of research on the net and found it definitely works for me, its a rough combination of the portfolio and uclp diet. I may be able to improve it further by eating more soy but I am a bit dubious about soy too.

More tips and advice for me to follow - thanks! I also take fish oil and garlic supplements daily does anyone take them or are they a waste of money? I was taking Acai Berry supplements but it's a bit expensive really so I have stopped taking them.

Deepblue - I have lost a lot of weight around my middle and I have always had excess weight in that area So I cut out sugar completely in my diet and use Argave Nectar instead and have stopped drinking diet drinks/coke too and the weight around my middle has almost disappeared!

It apparently is now decided that instead of the mathematical complications of calculating your BMI the easier measurement is waist/height. Your waist measurement should be half your height. As someone who is 5ft 3ins, (whatever that is in new money!) my waist measurement should be 31.5 ins. I am 29 ins. Seems OK to me. Less of a challenge to the "little grey cells" anyway!

I take a Multivitamin tablet, Calcium with Vit D,(history of annorexia as a teenager), Glucosamine (for the creaky joints) an Omega 3 (for the same reason) and a dandelion extract tablet for water retention to help with the slow onset of arthritis. As a test I went without these for a couple of weeks and was more that ready to go back to them as I was getting stiff and sore in the joints. Never looked back and have never felt better, especially as I am also dairy free due to intolerance only recently diagnosed thanks to a private clinic as the GP was useless.

As a side effect of all this I have lost 7lbs, 2 ins off my waist, and my HDL level has increased and my LDL decreased and I can still have a dessert homemade as I have to watch ingredients.


It's a shame that people are able to read old posts where the medication is not based on current science. Sugar, rice, potatoes and bread are the culprits. The science is showing In excess, they cause inflammation in joints, in your body and in your blood vessels. The liver makes cholesterol to repair the inflammation, 75% is made by your liver. Taking a statin will reduce the cholesterol made BUT this stops your liver making cholesterol to repair damage in your body. Your GP shouldn't be giving you a tablet to stop your body trying to make cholesterol which will heal your inflammation. He should be telling you to consume sugar, rice, potatoes and bread in moderation. Google DR Ancel Keys who in the 1950s wrongly used data to support his ideas, that's 60 years ago, they didn't have the science then .


in reply to Hidden

Why is this "It's a shame that people are able to read old posts where the medication is not based on current science" a shame?


If new science and meta analysis from today disproves something from 60 years ago it'll take longer to get into the mind of the public. At the moment we still see the media and adverts saying things like 'of course, we all know fat is bad for us' the reason we have skimmed and semi skimmed milk is due to the 'fat is bad' marketing. I think I phrased it wrong I didn't mean to offend and I don't know what the answer is. 7 people are in my office, 3 on statins, none are aware of the latest science that cholesterol in food and animal fat is Ok. They eat low fat everything but eat lots of sugar, rice and pasta...... body makes cholesterol to heal the inflammation, but take statin to lower cholesterol. So the body ends up inflamed, taking longer to heal.

in reply to Hidden

You can do your own research with the three people in your office, discuss this with them and record all the blood cholesterol results and see the progress.

Life style change and regular exercise and food intake control can help towards a healthy life.

Human body needs cholesterol.

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