Food swaps, cooking tips and more
People with high cholesterol levels can benefit from adopting a low-fat diet. This involves reducing the consumption of foods high in saturated and trans fats, both of which increase the type of harmful cholesterol that clogs the arteries.
People can switch to a
It is important to note that fats are not inherently “bad”. In fact, some types are necessary for good health. If a person is aiming to lower their cholesterol, they should
This article discusses how a low-fat diet can benefit people with high cholesterol. It also suggests healthy food swaps and provides general cooking tips.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with high cholesterol levels limit their calories from saturated fat to
Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature and are found in foods of animal origin such as meat, poultry, eggs and whole dairy products. Plant sources are less common, but some examples include coconut and palm oil.
The AHA also advises eliminating trans fats. They are partially hydrogenated oils that are present in many fried foods and baked goods such as crackers, cookies, and pizza dough.
People should eat moderate amounts of unsaturated fats, which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Sources include fish, such as salmon and trout, and plant foods, such as olives, avocado, and nuts.
Older versions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended eating
Foods that contain cholesterol include animal products such as red meat, shrimp, egg yolks, and whole dairy products.
A low-fat diet for cholesterol primarily focuses on limiting cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats. A person should not try to exclude all fats from their diet. Fats are an essential part of a nutritious and balanced diet, so it’s important to get enough polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Eat a diet low in saturated and trans fats
People may refer to LDL cholesterol as “bad” cholesterol because it causes fatty deposits to build up in the walls of arteries. Having high levels of LDL can cause narrowing of the arteries. This narrowing can obstruct blood flow, which can lead to cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.
Additionally, trans fats lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. HDL helps eliminate fatty deposits in the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, a low-fat diet reduces the consumption of foods that raise LDL and lower HDL. By doing so, it can reduce bad cholesterol in the body and increase good cholesterol.
People looking to lower cholesterol through diet can try the following
Try low-fat meat
People can swap fatty meats for lower fat choices. For example, they may opt for “select” or “choice” meat categories rather than “premium” categories.
People can also choose chicken and turkey over fattier poultry like duck and goose. It’s also a good idea to limit processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs.
Eat meatless meals
Meals made from beans, vegetables, and plant-based protein sources are likely to contain low amounts of harmful fats.
Instead of a beef burger, a person could eat a black bean patty. They could also replace the beef lasagna, chicken stir-fry, and beef chili with the vegetable lasagna, tofu stir-fry, and vegetable-lentil chili, respectively.
Replace meat with fish
Since fish is low in saturated fat, people can try fish meals instead of meat. Types of fish with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are especially beneficial.
Choose liquid oils
Rather than cooking with lard or shortening, a person can use liquid vegetable oils, such as olive or avocado oil.
Cook with fruit puree
Applesauce is a good substitute for butter in oatmeal cookies and muffins. Mashed bananas are also a good swap for oil in breads and brownies.
Try whole grain foods
Instead of white bread and white rice, a person can choose whole grain bread and brown rice.
Replace high-fat dairy products with low-fat dairy products
The AHA makes this recommendation, which is consistent with
People can also use certain cooking techniques to help them maintain a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet. These
- degrease meat and remove skin from poultry before cooking
- grilling, baking, or broiling food instead of frying it
- drizzle roasted meat with fruit juice rather than draining it in a pan
- cook soup stock and stews a day ahead and remove hardened fat before serving
- prepare vegetables with less oil and choose vegetable oil, such as avocado oil or olive oil
- season vegetables with spices and herbs instead of using packaged vegetables with seasonings and sauces
A low-cholesterol and low-fat diet can differ significantly from the standard diet in the United States, so trying to make a sudden change can feel overwhelming. If a person finds this particularly difficult, they can contact a doctor or dietitian for help.
This professional can tailor a person’s diet to their preferences and take into account other health conditions and food allergies or intolerances.
If a person has high cholesterol, following a diet low in saturated and trans fats may be beneficial. Doctors recommend limiting calories from saturated fat to less than
Going on a low-fat diet involves making several food swaps and following heart-healthy cooking methods. A dietitian can provide advice and help a person make necessary changes to their diet.