Have you ever been bitterly disappointed in a product and wondered what the heck you were thinking when you tried it? I feel that way today. I went for my biannual ICD check-up and found out I was doing fine except for one thing--somewhat high cholesterol. My cholesterol has always been a bit high--even when I had it checked in my twenties. The funny thing is, I don't have coronary artery disease despite having had a heart attack.
However, cardiologists still want cholesterol low no matter what after this type of event. I can't take statins and tried many of them including Zetia,
which gave me muscle pain like all the rest.
So, anyway, for the past three months, I ordered these Caramel Benecol Smart Chews
--I know, it sounds like some kind of dog treat that Rachel Lucas would give to her obese dog Sunny
, but these are of the human variety and are supposed to lower cholesterol, specifically LDL. Here is the pitch from Amazon:
Start to lower your cholesterol in as little as 2 weeks with Benecol Smart Chews
Contains plant stanol esters, which are proven to reduce your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol
May be used by those taking statin medications for additional cholesterol lowering
Enjoy 2-4 delicious caramel chews twice a day with meals
More than 25 clinical studies validate the safety of plant stanol esters
I followed the directions carefully and figured if two of these things was good, four would be better. At first they tasted a little odd, but I soon got used to the taste and after a while, they tasted delicious, just as advertised. I was popping one with meals throughout the day, all the while patting myself on the back for lowering my cholesterol. Except that it didn't.
Today, when I went to the doctor's office and got my cholesterol test back, it was 11 points higher
overall than it was four months before. My LDL was up 30 points. My triglycerides,
a type of fat found in your blood, were up over 20 points. "Bummer," I thought. I was shelling out about 28 bucks a month for these darn chewy things and all they did was increase my cholesterol. At least I didn't gain any weight--that would have really bummed me out.
If anyone has a product other than statins--or these chewy caramels-- that they have used successfully to reduce their cholesterol, let me know. I would love to find something that works.
Update: Thanks so much to everyone so far who has commented, emailed and even posted
on this important topic. All of your helpful suggestions have given me a lot to think about!