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A diet and exercise program may help reduce fat and cholesterol levels in individuals at risk for coronary artery disease. Developed by Canadian researchers, the program combines eating plant-derived sterols, or oils, with exercise. The study included 84 non-active individuals between the ages of 40 and 70. For the 8-week study, the participants were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 interventions: a combination of sterols and exercise, exercise, sterols, or a control treatment.
Reporting on the study's results, published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, senior author Peter Jones, PhD, said, "Both consuming plant sterols and exercising have been shown to affect blood cholesterol levels on their own. Our research is the first to look at the complementary effects of these therapies."
Doctoral student and lead author Krista Varady also commented on the study's results: "These findings suggest that combination therapy may improve the cholesterol and lipid levels in previously sedentary adults who have high cholesterol. Furthermore, this therapy may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease for these individuals."