“Eliminating fasting as a general requirement for cholesterol testing could greatly increase convenience for patients without significantly altering test results,” he said.
In an accompanying editorial published in the same journal, Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, a chronic disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said the “exceedingly small” gain of information from a fasting blood test likely does not offset the logistical constraints put on patients, laboratories and doctors for the procedure.
Because the study is just a snapshot in time, it has important limitations. It doesn’t prove that cholesterol levels don’t change significantly before and after a meal for individual patients.
Researchers say the small differences noted in the study may matter for some, including those who are taking specific medications to lower their cholesterol or triglycerides. Those patients may still need fasting tests.
But for many others, eating may not make a difference.