Eating garlic raw or in supplement form does not lower "bad" cholesterol levels, despite widespread health claims for the pungent bulb, researchers said yesterday.
"It just doesn't work," said Christopher Gardner of Stanford Prevention Research Centre, California .
"There's no short cut. You achieve good health by eating healthy food.
"There isn't a pill or a herb you can take to counteract an unhealthy diet."
Claims of garlic's cholesterol benefits stem from lab experiments but there is no proof it reacts in the body the same way, Mr Gardner says in Archives of Internal Medicine, reports Melbourne Herald Sun.
According to Xinhua, almost 200 volunteers were put on a garlic-rich diet for six months, but the only notable change was an increase in bad breath and body odor.
The study by researchers at Stanford University's school of medicine in California, assessed the effects of raw garlic and two commercial garlic supplements on LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and HDL, the "good' variety."
"There were no statistically significant effects of the three forms of garlic on LDL cholesterol concentrations," said team leader, Dr. Christopher Gardner. "Levels of other types of cholesterol were also unaffected."
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969