Health News: Garlic 'does not cut cholesterol'

News item from the Beeb about garlic, with a bit of weirdness with a mention of studies done with animals…?

Quote:

Garlic ‘does not cut cholesterol’

Eating garlic – either raw or as a supplement – does not lower cholesterol levels, a US study has found.

There has been a belief that garlic could help, supported by positive lab and animal studies.

… *pauses for a second* …

I’m curious as to how exactly they studied the animals… I have a mental picture of a scientist in a white coat, clipboard in his hand, bending over to smell a cow’s breath.

I know I’m being flippant. I don’t think animals were harmed with this. I’m sure they measured their cholesterol levels the same way it is measured on humans, but still…

The article continues:

…But a comparison of raw garlic and two garlic supplements in Archives of Internal Medicine found none of the three had any effect.

British experts said a healthy diet combined with plenty of exercise was the best way to prevent heart disease.

Garlic has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases – the first recorded use was in ancient Egypt 3,500 years ago.

Recently allicin, a compound in garlic has been shown to prevent the formation of cholesterol in over 90 animal studies and, in the early 1990s, studies in humans also suggested there could be benefits.

But the studies were poorly designed, and did not provide conclusive proof.

Again with the animal studies…
But the article finishes on a good note:

Judy O’Sullivan, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This small study shows that eating raw cloves of garlic or taking garlic supplements has no benefit for the heart.

“However, eating garlic as part of a balanced diet will help to add variety and flavour, and it is a healthier alternative to salt, for example.”

She added: “In order to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease, it’s best to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in fat, especially saturated fat, and keep physically active.”

And of course cut out the meat.

Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6396405.stm

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