Arnold Schwarzenegger said vegan diet lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger said he has been mostly vegan for five years.
  • The bodybuilding champion said he ate around 80% plant-based foods and it kept his cholesterol levels low.
  • He also enjoys an occasional treat like steak, which experts say can keep a diet sustainable.

Bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger says he’s been following a mostly plant-based diet for five years and it’s significantly lowered his cholesterol levels.

Schwarzenegger said in a recent edition of his email newsletter that about 80% of what he eats is vegan. He said he makes the occasional exception for steak or Austrian schnitzel – leaving room for treats in your diet can help avoid restrictions and can help you with long-term dieting, experts have previously said to Insider.

The former seven-time Mr. Olympia was candid about the benefits of a

vegan diet

for health, inspiring a generation of vegan bodybuilders to build muscle with plant-based diets.

He said it helped him feel “healthier and younger overall” and helped lower his LDL cholesterol, a type of cholesterol sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because it’s linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

“My bad cholesterol is so low my doctor thought maybe I was a different person,” Schwarzenegger said in the newsletter.

Certain animal foods like fatty cuts of meat, processed meats like bacon and hot dogs, and dairy products like cheese are linked to higher cholesterol levels, according to evidence.

In contrast, vegetables, especially leafy greens, and foods like whole grains, berries, and nuts can help lower cholesterol without medication.

Regular exercise can also help maintain low cholesterol levels. Schwarzenegger, 74, continues to train regularly, previously sharing in his newsletter that his workout split is six days a week, focusing on a different body part each day.