A study conducted by Penn State researchers found that the low cholesterol diet (Step 1 diet as described by NCEP) which physicians often recommend to patients of elevated LDL cholesterol levels did not lower the cholesterol levels in patients with high CRP levels.

C-reactive protein or CRP is a substance produced by liver and increases whenever there is inflammation anywhere in the body. The high level of CRP is linked with various inflammatory processes including the presence of heart diseases.

In the study, thirty-two overweight participants with cholesterol levels ranging from 124 – 211 mg/dl are enrolled. These people take their food prepared according to the National Cholesterol Education Programme’s Step 1 diet for 15 weeks.

The blood analysis done after the completion of study showed that the step 1 diet lowered the LDL cholesterol in people with low CRP levels ( < 3.5 mg/L ). On the other hand, people with high CRP levels actually saw their LDL levels increase by taking step 1 diet. Another finding suggests that adding soy or milk protein to the step 1 diet did not affect either cholesterol or CRP levels.