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October 20, 1962

AMA Council Warns Against Unsupervised Dieting to Lower Cholesterol

JAMA. 1962;182(3):36. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050420108044

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The AMA Council on Foods and Nutrition has a word for people who plan to cut down their blood cholesterol by dieting without medical supervision: Don't.

"It can't be done," the council advises.

In the first place, no one can know how much cholesterol his blood contains without laboratory tests. In the second place, it is impossible to tell whether any diet changes have raised or lowered the blood cholesterol level unless it is scientifically measured.

A person's entire food intake must be precisely regulated to lower blood cholesterol, the council said. Haphazard substitution of a few food items without over-all control of the diet will accomplish little if anything.

Besides, the council warned, unsupervised dieting can be dangerous to health. When certain foods are dropped, they must be replaced by others containing the same nutrients to achieve adequate nourishment.

This requires a precise knowledge of the nutritional content of

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