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How Can I Lower the Cholesterol in My Diet?

03/11/2009

Question:

How many grams of fat should a person with a high cholesterol count have a day? I am 5`3" , 105 lbs.

Answer:

Thanks for your question. At 5'3 and 105 lbs, your calorie intake should be around 1500 calories per day. Of this 1500 calories, 30% or less should come from fat. This is the recommendation from the American Heart Association and American Dietetic Association in order to prevent heart disease. In order to meet this recommendation, your total fat grams should be approximately 50 grams or less. Since you have a high blood cholesterol, the type of fat is important as well as the total amount. Saturated fat (which is solid at room temperature) should be limited in your diet. Saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). This type of fat is typically found in animal foods (beef, chicken skin, lard, butter, cream and dairy foods containing whole milk). Saturated fat is also found in tropical oils (palm or coconut oil) as well as avacado. So, go easy on the guacomole! Be sure to also limit foods that have hidden fat (candy bars, snack crackers, chips, cookies, cake, etc.) These foods contain hydrogenated fat (fat that was once liquid, but made solid by adding hydrogen). These products contain trans fatty acids, which may also increase blood cholesterol. Margarine is another food high in trans fatty acids, so limit the amount you use. Certain types of fat may be beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats (found in olive, peanut and canola oils) have been found to increase your HDL level, and decrease your LDL level. HDL is the "good cholesterol" you hear about that helps to rid the body of cholesterol and fat. LDL is named "bad cholesterol" because it circulates and deposits cholesterol in the arteries. Try to cook more with the above oils mentioned, or use olive oil in salads or with bread (instead of margarine or butter). The other type of fat you'll hear about is polyunsaturated fat. Similar to monounsaturated fat, this fat is also liquid at room temperature. These fats include sunflower, vegetable and corn oils. Although these fats are better than saturated fats, they may lower HDL ("good") as well as LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Use these fats in moderation. In addition to low fat diets, foods high in soluble fiber may also help in lowering cholesterol. These foods include citrus fruits, apples, oats, and dried beans (legumes). These foods aid in binding bile in the large intestine and preventing it from producing more cholesterol. Regular exercise will also aid in cholesterol reduction. Brisk walking, aerobics, or cycling for at least 30 minutes 3 days per week will help increase HDL and lower LDL. I hope this information helped you. Check the American Dietetic Association website for more information and other links for cholesterol reduction. Good luck!

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati