Are Cholesterol lowering drinks, spread and milk any good?

My cholesterol level last October was 7.8 and the doctor wanted to put me on statins and aspirin (because of a slight amount of plaque on one artery) Since then I have been using cholesterol lowering Milk, Spread and Drink plus cutting down on fats and exercising more and last week at the pharmacy it was down to 6.7, but the pharmacy doesn't provide the ratio figures, but when I asked the doctor he said it was the other figures which count and that my HDL last October was far too low and the LDL level was much too high. He also said I should save my money on the cholesterol lowering drinks etc. Does anyone think that these drinks etc. are useless too?

35 Replies

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  • Sounds like you want to take control of your own body Jeny. I applaud that. Your GP will automatically want to prescribe drugs but I have always felt that, if I could lower my cholesterol without, then that was preferable - until I went through the menopause and I then needed gave in and took statins.

    By your own efforts, you have reduced your total cholesterol level. Keep at it. Oily fish, onions and garlic in your diet will help with your "good" cholesterol (HDL). If the drinks, spreads etc you are using contain sterols and stanols, these have been proved to reduce total and the "bad" (LDL) cholesterol as they impair the uptake of cholesterol from the gut.

    As your doctor can get the ratio of good/bad/total cholesterol, I would continue to have your blood tests there rather than the pharmacist .

    For more detailed information I would highly recommend you contact HEART UK - the cholesterol charity - for their expertise. They are the experts.

  • YvonneD, thank you so much for your reply which was extremely useful.

  • One other thing I have found that has been really good for me - for over twenty years - has been a herbal product that no professional will recommend but I buy from my local independent health food shop. It is called Kyolic and is age dried garlic with no side effects. The experts assure me it cannot work but each time I have taken it my total cholesterol count has reduced and each time I have stopped, it has gone up again. It might be worth a try. Good luck.

  • HI Yvonne, Thinking of giving Kyolic a try. Which dose do you take as I see that you can get them from 100 - 1000mg and any particular brand you like? Thanks

  • I began with 100 mg , for many years, then, as my cholesterol level slowly crept up with age, I increased the dosage. Back to my original philosophy,"It is my body so I take charge." (With help from my GP, when necessary.)

  • "Does anyone think that these drinks etc. are useless too"? Yes, as is lowering cholesterol without dealing with the underlying cause.

  • Well, I have noticed this week specifically, that exercise really does help - especially for stress levels. I've always been careful with my diet. So I will now be walking at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, but I really don't want to go on statins, as my consultant has put me on Domperidone (a 12 month cough which he calls a reflux cough) and my doctor has more or less insisted on Aspirin.

  • I think exercise does help. Due to clinical error, I had two cholesterol tests pretty close together. 5.5mmol/l total cholesterol after a period of little exercise, followed by 4.7mmol/l TC two weeks later after usual exercise (10-20 miles bicycle about four days a week). No change in HDL but can't say what component was reduced as TG wasn't measured either time.

  • Hi Concerned. How do I find out the "underlying cause" - my doctor hasn't suggested anything, so I can only assume it's cutting down on all the 'baddies'; fats and sugars etc., as well as the exercise, of course.

  • Jeny1eye,

    Well done on the reduction so far, but I assume you want to keep going.

    You say, "I have been using cholesterol lowering Milk, Spread and Drink plus cutting down on fats and exercising more".

    Exercising more is great - but there is a lot more that you can do diet wise than just cutting down on fat. As a nutritionist (non-practising) the first thing I would want to look at is your refined carbohydrate and sugar intake. As a general rule I'd much sooner see a reduction in these before considering fat intake.

    Sterols/Stanols are proven to work - they reduce your blood cholesterol level (by replacing with the vegetal alternative) but personally I don't like the processed food that there are delivered in. So instead I prefer...other foods that are proven to work Almonds and the soluble fibre from Oats and Barley (called Beta Glucans)

    BetaBalance.

  • Hello, I've been thinking now! I have burgen bread and each slice contains 1.3g of sugar in the carbs, so for me that's 2.6g every day. I try not to have other sugars - only as a treat. Thanks, I must admit I haven't been very careful, but I only have 2 slices of bread daily, however I must look at other foods which have hidden sugars.

  • Hi Jeny1eye,

    Some may be stricter than I, but as far as I'm concerned please don't worry about the little bit of sugar in the burgen - although if its the soya and linseed loaf try the Vogels variant (a little healthier and far nicer in my opinion). In the great scheme of things that is no biggy. Do be vigilant elsewhere though. If its processed then its unlikely to be helping.

    If the 2.6g is the biggest intake you have to worry about then you can't be doing much wrong.

    All the best,

    BetaBalance

  • Thanks, BetaBalance, I will certainly try the Vogels bread - seen it in the supermarket this week. I also have to change my tesco's drinks as I've just found out that they contain 5.1g of sugar!

  • Hi there- I have just started using the cholesterol lowering drinks and waiting the outcome

    I have friend who is a pharmacist- this person has diabetes they have been recommended to take stains due to diabetes -due to the side effects and nether of us being unable to find any conclusive evidence that statins are harmful or beneficial ( the one thing is certain the side effects are unpleasant) and can be damaging in long term useage

    On these grounds my friend and I have decided to try the drinks - we already take pure pommegrainite juice and are now adding in the drinks to see what happens along with our already low fat diet- we are trying to help each

    I have noted the use of kyolic and garlic and onions- I have also been told fresh chillies are good for the circulation

  • Hi everyone

    I have always led an active life, never smoked and am a light drinker but following a heart attack it was found i had FH. I then had a quad bypass.

    After three years trying all the well known statins and having serious side effects that severely affected my quality of life, i decided, in conjunction with my GP to take a six month statin holiday. I decided that during this time i would follow a strict exercise plan and a diet based on the HEART UK/alpro Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan which i think i downloaded from this site. I did this because i was confused by all the different dietary ideas and products available and needed a distinct plan that i understood and could stick to. I now stick to my plan and add to it if i think a product may assist my goal. My GP told me that it would probably be about three months from stopping taking the statins before i began to notice any changes. I am now four months into my statin holiday and have began to feel much, much better. Much more like my old self pre statins. Memory and mental alertness is much better and the muscle problems are much reduced. My GP told me there was no point in checking my cholesterol level before i complete my six month statin holiday but at that point i will have my cholesterol level checked fully. i.e. Total chol, HDL, LDL, Trigs etc. We would then make a decision on my medical future based on my chol results and my general well-being.

    As part of my diet i take two chol lowering drinks a day. My GP also does this but informs me that chol lowering drinks can only have a marginal effect on chol levels on their own but are most useful as part of a bigger overall chol lowering diet plan. i.e. 5 a day, soya milk and foods, foods fortified with stanols/sterols, beta-glucans, nuts, etc. I have nearly removed any extra salt and sugar and study food labels in depth but damn it they are confusing!

    I am no health freak, food scientist or whatever, i just want to have as good a quality of life for as long as possible whilst considering my medical condition. It was a big decision i made (after much research) to stop taking statins and i hope i do not regret it. I will continue to post as i continue this non statin chol lowering(hopefully) plan but would welcome any comments/advice/recommendations from anyone. Also, if i can be of any assistance to anyone then please feel free. Thank you.

  • Great post Rueben,

    Thanks for sharing.

    BetaBalance

  • When I was lowering my cholesterol last year I looked into the research about the cholesterol lowering drinks and decided that I would drink one a day. Each drink contains the exact amount of plant stanols one should have each day - well the brand I used at any rate - so I just had that. I was less happy about the sugars/sweeteners in the drinks, so once I had my level down I stopped using them. I do think they help though.

    Overall, I found that exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week helped me shift some weight and helped get my level down. I also devised 90 recipes so that I could continue to eat good food while lowering my level. Not feeling deprived of yummy things to eat was key to keeping me motivated. Let me know if you would find these helpful and I will send you the link to the recipes.

    Good luck!

  • Hy foodblog. Could you send me the link for your recipes please? Thank you.

  • Hi foodblog.  I too am taking a daily cholesterol lowering drink and eating a lot more veg and less red meat, since a 7.3 cholesterol reading in Nov.  After all this effort, my recent test shows very little improvement.  I obviously need to do more and would greatly appreciate a link to the recipes.  Thanks for your input.

  • Thanks for that foodblog

    You are right about the chol lowering drinks. One a day is the recommended amount. I only take two because my GP said he takes two and recommended i do the same but i will check this up with him again.

    I agree.....not feeling deprived of some yummy things is the key to keeping motivated and sticking to the diet plan.

    I accept all offers of help and do take advice on board so the recipe link may well be useful.

    Thank you.

  • Not all of the drinks are equal. I know Morrisons sold only a own-brand half-strength one in 2010, which surprised me. Meanwhile, Flora causes a quite unpleasant reaction in me! Benecol seems OK so far.

    I wouldn't bother with the spreads and so on - it's too difficult to measure your dose.

  • I hope you appreciate what a considerate GP you have Rueben - unlike that of Jeny1eye. Thankyou for sharing.

  • Hi Reuben,

    Good luck with your diet plans. I sometimes buy the yoghurt drinks but even the reduced sugar ones from Tesco contain 5.1g of sugar. Why do manufacturers have to put so much sugar in food?

  • I am so surprised about Tesco's chol.lower.drinks - admittedly I hadn't looked at the bottles to see. Shall not be buying these again. Thanks.

  • I am a bit of a sugar label freak (it drives my husband bonkers in Tesco) but both my eldest daughter and I have glucose levels the high end of normal. We also have a big family history of type 2 diabetes, so I try and do all I can to keep sugar and carbs down.

    Actually, I really like natural yoghurt and avoid flavoured ones. The thick and creamy flavoured yoghurt has 12g of sugar.

  • Yes - I too enjoy the plain yoghurts. Also I love fresh cream, but only have this at Christmas!

  • Hi Aliwally

    There is a new book out by Dr Fuhrman which is selling well in the US. It is called "The End of Diabetes" - the clue is in the title! - well worth a read. Best wishes, Chas.

  • Hi Jen1eye and Rueben

    The link to the low fat recipes is fromtheheathyheart.com

    The bog is now on day 37 (of 90) so you have 37 recipes already there for you to look at and another 53 to come. If you want to subscribe (free) on the website you will receive a daily newsletter with a daily recipe. There is also a diary blog you can follow which has lots of info about cholesterol, olive oil, menopause, dealing with eating out, eating in, becoming active and other challenges we all face in trying to lower cholesterol.

    Enjoy and good luck.

  • Thanks Reuben for letting me know that you pain felt relief after 4 months,

    I stopped the Statins about 3 months ago,

    my dr.made me try 2 others before stopping statins,they were hopeless for me,

    in the first week of coming off the Statins?

    I was clearheaded,no more memory loss or muzzy feelimng,

    I was ME again..

    now I still have the pain in the legs/feet and hands,also the rest of my body,

    I do suffer from whole body O/A,.

    my 2 replacement kneejoints are total agony,walking is agony and driving too.

    so,your mention of pain relief after 4 months will make me grit my teeth for longer,

    oh,in the midst of all of this?

    I was taken off the strong Naprosyn!!!!! down to one pill daily,so,that has brought my relief down by 50%,I'd had a blood test,it found that my Heart/Kidneys/thyroid/and something I forgot,are NOT working properly,

    talk about bad luck.....and,I have Fluid on the lungs too!!

    I don't smoke.drink,or any other nasty habit...I think the after effects of Flu and 5 weeks of coughing probably brought on the Lungs problem,.

    .

    My Dr, reckons all of the cholestol-lowering foods and drinks are a waste of money,and give false hope.only foods you prepare yourself can contain goodness,

    we do not know what additives are added to any processed foods

    ,

    we get a list...

    but,just like no one told us about the horsemeat?

    can we trust everyone?..

    she advised me to buy the book by Margaret MCcartney.THE PATIENT PARADOX.

    I am halfway through it....it appears that everyone is in limbo about pills and side-effects.....

    trust them or not?that is the question...I hope I know the answer by the time I have finished the book,

    Good Luck to everyone...Pat

  • Hi Pat

    I also suffer from OA and have done for many years. Have you tried cider vinegar and honey? I find this so helpful as have several others I have suggested it too, it is very inexpensive and easily available. If you'd like to try it take 1 dessert spoonful of cider vinegar with half teaspoon of honey twice a day, a well recognised old fashioned remedy.

  • I have just finished reading the " Patient Paradox" as well. The author is a practising GP who thinks medicine has become a "tick box" culture with too much emphasis on screening the well and not paying enough attention to the sick.

    I'm sure the relatives of the people who died in mid Staffs would agree with a lot of what she says in relation to targets and tick boxes.

  • Hi Alliwally,I am glad to hear that another sufferer is taking time out to read a very good book,my Dr. told me about it as she knows I have on more than one occasion helped to save my own life.....

    how?

    realising that pills are causing the damage..while reading this book you realise just how much we and Medics are "conned" into believing the "Hype! " over so called miracle drugs,,,

    trouble is....no 2 people have the same reactions,..but,with Statins?

    I wonder how many people suffer in silence?

    and,never know that it is the pills they take that are damaging them?

    I read somewhere that if more patients complained?they would have to do something.but,only about 2% of Patients have ever mentioned any problems....

    Amazon have recommended another book today,

    I will think about this one it seems it has more answers about the subject.

    I will read about it tomorrow..

    I think my DR. said the right thing,

    "Pat,you are damned if you do....and,damned if you don't, with some pills."

    ..in my case,I had the lining burnt off my stomach and all other organs on the way down....because of taking painkillers I was forced to take in Hospital in 1980,

    when I had my first Spine Op...ever since then?problems.....and more problems.....

    but,I keep cheerful....good luck..

  • I just think sometimes we have to trust ourselves to make our own decisions and then take resposibility for it. Dr McCartney raises a lot of issues about screening. Women are sold screening as an absolute "no brainer" without being told the risks of overtreatment and yes, I know that some women's lives have been saved but some women have undergone mutilating surgery which might not have been necessary. The radiation from a mammogram is enough to cause a tumour in some women.

    Professor Michael Baum actually set up breast screening but is now an avid critic of mass screening.

  • if these foods are capidable of reducing chrolestrol why dosn't my doctor subscribe them for me answer they dont. dont believe everything you see in adverts they are trying to sell the goods.. iv had high readings for over 30 years when both chrolestrol and triggs were in their 20's started on zocor and varoius other meds and diets and now take stats and have got my readings down to about 4 it takes time so long as you have a reasonable diet and keep fit i cant see what wrong your doing

  • Seems this domain name has expired and is up for sale!!??

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