Low cholesterol diet

The main source for cholesterol is the consumption of fat, which not only stimulates the increase of cholesterol level in blood but also is a reason for obesity. Obesity on its own part contributes to the cholesterol level increase. Thus individuals starting with children and finishing with their grandparents should be very aware of what they eat and be physically active, so that the level of cholesterol would be high enough to fully perform all its bodily functions, and low enough not to cause heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Low fat low cholesterol diet

Low cholesterol diet is specially created to reduce fat and cholesterol levels evaluated and recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). They try to decrease total dietary fat, especially saturated fat; lower the amount of dietary cholesterol; limit consumption of sodium; increase the consumption of fiber and complex carbohydrates instead; and finally lower the amount of calories in order to reach a healthy body weight (in case of obesity.)

All fat containing foods is a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fat is the “devil machine” in the production of cholesterol in your body. There is no such a product that would increase your blood cholesterol level more than saturated fat. The easiest way to distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fat is observe their physical form: saturated fat solidify or remain solid at room temperature while unsaturated fat always remain liquid regardless to the temperature.

The biggest source of saturated fats is animal products, such as fatty meat, poultry (especially with skin), dairy products, lard. Some vegetable oils are also rich in this kind of fat, e.g. palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils. So the best way to avoid high blood cholesterol level is to choose food which is low in saturated fat. One of the possibilities is to replace fat-high products by foods such as vegetables and fruit, or whole grain products that are rich in starch and fiber.

Low cholesterol diet recipes


Grapefruit (1/2 cup);

cereal (3/4 cup);

banana (1/2);

egg substitute (1/4);

whole wheat toast (2 slices);

margarine ( 2 tsp);

jelly or jam (1 tbsp);

drink 1% milk (1 cup);



Vegetable beef soup (1 cup);

lean hamburger (2 oz);

low fat cheese (1 oz); 

hamburger bun;

sliced tomato and lettuce with olive oil (2 tsp);

fresh fruit salad (1/2 cup);

oatmeal cookie (1);

1% milk (1 cup). 


Tomato juice (1/2 cup);

broiled chicken breast (3 oz);

herbed brown rice (1/2 cup);

broccoli spears (2);

hard dinner roll (1);

margarine (1 tsp);

carrot/raisin salad (1/2 cup);

frozen strawberry yogurt (1/2 cup);

1%  milk (1 cup).

Cholesterol diet

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in bloodstream and in all cells of the body. It is produced by liver and performs a number of vital functions, e.g. it helps to form cell membranes and some hormones. However, too much cholesterol in one’s blood can result in coronary heart disease, which eventually leads to a heart attack.

“Good” and “Bad” cholesterol

There are two kinds of cholesterol: High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL). The HDL and LDL molecules circulate in blood in globular packages called lipoproteins. HDL molecules are smaller than LDL ones and are responsible for transporting cholesterol to the liver. This kind of cholesterol is actually useful for your body because it helps to clean cholesterol from arteries and protects against dangerous blockades in the arteries that can result in strokes. HDL also does not leave sticky plaques on artery walls.

LDL molecules carry the most of cholesterol through the bloodstream and therefore are bigger than and not as dense as HDL molecules. Due to this they tend to oxidize and leave plagues and arterial walls that clog arteries and lead to heart disease.

How to know how much fat I can use?

There is a simple formula which helps to find out how much fat you can consume on a daily basis. By doing simple math you will not only help the level of cholesterol to decrease but prevent it from going up.

The first to know is that the amount of fat cannot be bigger than 30% of your daily calories. To calculate what 30% of total calories is, multiply the total day’s calories by 0.30. For example, 1800 calories x 0.30 = 540 fat calories allowed for a person who eats 1800 calories per day. You can also calculate how many grams of fat that 30% is. To do that, divide the calories from fat by 9, because each gram of fat is 9 calories. For example, 540 calories from fat ÷ 9 = 60 grams of fat per day.

What to eat and how?

Of course, to follow an effective cholesterol diet , avoid high fat processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs, bologna, salami, fatty, untrimmed red meats, and fried foods. When preparing food, bake, broil, microwave, poach, grill or roast products because these ways of cooking tend to produce lower saturated fat levels.

In order to keep your blood cholesterol level low, include only the leanest meet, poultry, fish and shellfish into your menu. Buy chicken and turkey without skin or remove it before eating. Substitute meat and chicken by fish or shellfish because it has less saturated fat. And despite the fact, that the leanest meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish have less saturated fat than other foods, they still contain it. Therefore limit the total amount of these products up to six ounces per day.

Low cholesterol diet vs. High cholesterol diet

In addition to low cholesterol diet you may come across the name of high cholesterol diet and start thinking of what the latter means. If it has been decided that high blood cholesterol level leads to the heart disease, why would one want to follow a high cholesterol diet? The thing is, that in the year 2001 the National Cholesterol Education Program NCEP released this diet specifically for people who are know very well their blood cholesterol is high and know they might be at risk of having serious heart problems.

In the case of low cholesterol diet, it may be followed in two stages or steps. Most adults and children over the age of two with the high blood cholesterol are treated by the Step-1 diet. The Step-2 diet is recommended in case a person has a high blood cholesterol level, even though he/she has been following a Step-1 diet for a period of 6-12 weeks. It can also be suggested for a person who has evidence of atherosclerosis or had a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol diet is a modernized version to replace the two-steps low cholesterol diet.  The amounts of basic nutrients have been changed so that the best results would be reached in the least period of time. According to a high cholesterol diet, the amount of daily total fat should not be more than 25% – 25% of total calories. Saturated fat should not be more than 7% of total calories. Polyunsaturated fat should make up to 10% of total calories per day, while monounsaturated fat can be 20% of total calories. Carbohydrates should make the bulk of your daily calories norm, i.e. 50%-60% and 15% of them should be products containing protein. You should not eat more than 200 mg/dL of cholesterol and 2g of plant sterols per day.