How to Lower Cholesterol Without Statins


But there are many other heart disease risk factors that statins do not improve, like high blood sugar, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and excess weight.

And statins, like all drugs, can have negative side effects.

With a natural, healthy lifestyle like the Pritikin Program, the only side effects you'll get are good ones – really good ones. You'll improve virtually every modifiable risk factor for heart disease.

Give yourself the best chance of living heart-attack-free. Learn how with this interactive infographic.

Cholesterol, Statins and Your Heart

How to
Lower Cholesterol
Without Statins

Our relationship with cholesterol is one of those love-hate ones. Our body needs cholesterol for a variety of essential metabolic processes, while at the same time an excess of "bad" cholesterol raises risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. The key is to keep your blood levels in a healthy range to prevent disease and to allow your body to function properly.

This is not always an easy task to achieve, but with proper guidance, information and some self-discipline, there are safe and effective ways to achieve this balance and lower your risks.

Where does cholesterol come from?

Blood Cholesterol

Dietary Cholesterol

This is the “natural” cholesterol found in our body.

Most of it is produced in the liver and it helps our cells do their jobs. It is essential for many metabolic processes, including the healthy functioning of our hormones.

This is the cholesterol we eat. Dietary cholesterol raises our blood cholesterol somewhat. What really sends our blood cholesterol through the roof are foods full of saturated fats and/or trans fats.

Foods Rich in Saturated Fats
Avoid Red Meat to Reduce Cholesterol Cheese is High in Saturated Fat Whole Milk Raises Blood Cholesterol Cooking Oils Are Often High in Saturated Fat

Red meat, butter, cheese, cream, whole milk, palm and coconut oil

Foods Rich in Trans Fats
Is Butter or Margarine Better for Cholesterol? Will Oatmeal Cookies Help Lower Cholesterol? Avoid Foods With Partially Hydrogenated Fat Individual Vegetable Pizzas

Any food with partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredient list, which often includes margarines, shortenings, baked goods like donuts and biscuits, and many snack foods like cookies, crackers, and chips.

How low should “bad” cholesterol be?

There is a growing consensus in the medical community that the best predictor of heart disease risk is non-HDL cholesterol. Non-HDL contains not only LDL but all other particles that are “bad.” Just like LDL, these particles contribute to the build-up of cholesterol-filled plaques in the walls of our arteries.

Determine your non-HDL:

Enter Your
Total Cholesterol


Enter Your
HDL Cholesterol


Non-HDL Cholesterol

Reducing risks related to “bad” cholesterol
Statins and Prescription Drugs

APrescription drugs

Statins have been clearly shown to reduce blood cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis, or heart disease. They achieve this by essentially preventing the liver from making cholesterol by blocking an enzyme called HMG CoA Reductase.

What Statins Can Do

They essentially prevent the liver from making cholesterol by blocking an enzyme called HMG CoA Reductase.

What Statins Can't Do

The liver has tiny receptors that can "capture" some of our excess bad cholesterol particles and remove them from the bloodstream. Unfortunately, these receptors are reduced in number and effectiveness in people who eat a lot of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol, and there's little statins can do to counteract this process. Aside from high cholesterol levels, there are other factors impacting your coronary health (blood sugar, insulin resistance, belly fat, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, etc.) None of these is impacted by statins.

Side Effects

Some people taking statins have muscle pain (and muscle inflammation), liver damage, memory loss, elevated liver enzymes, fuzzy thinking and forgetfulness. There is also growing concern of a link between statin use and type 2 diabetes.

Click for more info on statins

BLifestyle changes

Follow Pritikin's 6 dietary and lifestyle tips to lower bad cholesterol levels naturally

Limit intake of foods full of saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol


Saturated Fat Foods

Butter, fatty flesh like red meat, full-fat and low-fat dairy products, palm oil, and coconut oil.

Trans Fat Foods

Anything with partially hydrogenated fat in the Ingredient List.

Dietary Cholesterol

Egg yolks, organ meats, and shellfish.


Daily Servings of Nonfat
Dairy Foods Only


Limit Intake: Meat, Poultry and Fish
To No More Than 3.5 to 4 Ounces Per Day

Side Effects of Statins

Best ChoiceFor Stroke Prevention, Eat Fish Baked or Broiled

Omega-3-rich fish (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout) at least 2 times weekly. If you’re using canned fish, such as canned sardines, select very-low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.

Good ChoiceHealthiest Diet on Earth

Most other fish, shelled mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops).

Satisfactory ChoicesSautéed Garlic Shrimp Healthy Picnic Food IdeasBring On the Bison Meat!

Crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster, crawfish), poultry (white meat, skinless), game meat (bison, venison, elk, ostrich), optimally free-range and grass-fed.

Poor ChoiceRed Meat Is Good For You?

Red meats are the least desirable choice because they not only tend to have the highest proportion of saturated fats, they are also higher in heme iron, which likely raises the risk of type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Red meats also alter the gut’s microbiome, which recent research indicates may raise cardiovascular disease risk.

For optimal heart-health results, limit Satisfactory Choices
to no more than once weekly and Poor Choices to no more than once monthly.
Eat a lot of fiber-rich foods, especially foods high in soluble fiber
Want to Live to 100? Eat More Beans!
Foods Rich in
Soluble Fiber
  • Barley
  • Beans (also called legumes) such as pinto beans, black beans, and peas
  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Sweet potatoes
  • All other potatoes
  • Yams
    Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs - What Are You Eating?
    Vegetables Rich in
    Soluble Fiber
    • Acorn squash
    • Artichokes
    • Beets
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Butternut squash
    • Carrots
    • Eggplant
    • Okra
    Pritikin Diet - Choose Healthy Eating for Life
    Fruit Rich in
    Soluble Fiber
    • Apples
    • Apricots
    • Bananas
    • Berries
    • Nectarines
    • Oranges
    • Passion fruit
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Persimmons
    • Prunes
      Choose protein-rich plant foods over meat
      • Lentils
      • Peas
      • Beans (for example, pinto beans, red beans, white beans, and soybeans)

      They’re full of nutritional riches and are a very healthy, protein-packed alternative to meat. Legumes help lower LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.

      5 Nuts and Seeds to Help Lower Cholesterol

      Nuts and seeds have been proven to modestly lower LDL cholesterol levels. To avoid blood-pressure raising salt, choose raw or dry-roasted, unsalted varieties.

      If you're trying to lose excess weight, stay away from nuts and seeds.

      Lose as much excess weight as possible
      Best Meal Plan To Lower Cholesterol

      Benefits: improving your cholesterol profile, preventing diseases epidemic in industrialized societies (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, gout, and many types of cancer).

      Limit even the so-called “good“ fats like olive oil. Any fat is dense with calories, which means heavy consumption can easily lead to a heavy body.

      Take plant sterol supplements
      Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

      Sterols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. A daily intake of 1 to 2 grams of plant sterols has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Your best choice is supplements, such as CholestOff (by Nature Made), because they do not have the calories, sugar, trans fats, and/or salt of many foods enriched with plant sterols.

      Take psyllium (such as Metamucil)
      Lose Weight, Feel Great

      Psyllium husks are seed grains sold as a soluble fiber supplement and laxative. Metamucil is the best known brand, but psyllium is also available in less expensive store brands. Studies have shown that 9 to 10 grams daily of psyllium, the equivalent of about 3 teaspoons daily of Sugar-Free Metamucil, reduced LDL levels.

      To get the cholesterol-lowering benefit, take 1 teaspoon with water no more than 15 to 30 minutes before each meal.

      Don't rely solely on cholesterol-lowering medications.

      Yes, they'll likely help you lower bad levels of cholesterol, but there are many other heart disease risk factors, like high blood sugar and excess weight, that they do not impact. Give yourself the best chance of living heart-attack-free by adopting a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin.

      Pritikin Logo

      Pritikin Program is effective!

      Often, it takes only weeks to lower cholesterol!

      Alternative To Heart Surgery + Good Salads For Losing Weight + Yoga and Heart Health = Pritikin Logo

      Pritikin provides education, healthy meals and exercise classes to help reduce cholesterol.


      LDL Cholesterol


      NON-LDL Cholesterol

      Among more than 4,500 people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center for three weeks, LDL cholesterol fell on average 23%. Non-HDL cholesterol plummeted 24%.

      3 Best Types Of Foods That Are Guaranteed to Lower Your Cholesterol

      Get Pritikin's Ultimate Guide for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally.

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