Cholesterol Counts

Your cholesterol level is affected by two things: how much your body makes, and what kind of food you are eating. Though some people may have issues controlling their cholesterol due to family history, what you eat on a daily basis also makes a difference in how healthy your blood fat levels are. Remember, not all cholesterol is bad! The focus should be on lowering your LDL cholesterol (the bad guy that delivers cholesterol to different parts of your body and increases your heart disease risk), and trying raise your HDL cholesterol level (the good guy that takes cholesterol from the body back to the liver to be excreted and is better for your heart health).

Risk Factors for High Cholesterol:

· Smoking

· Not getting enough physical activity

· Age (men aged 45 and over, women aged 55 and over)

· Family History

· High Blood Pressure

· Diabetes

· Diet high in saturated/trans fats

· Taking certain medications that may increase cholesterol levels

Cholesterol Level Targets (always check with your health care provider for the numbers that are best for you!)

Total Cholesterol: aim for less than 200 mg/dl

LDL Cholesterol: aim for less than 100 mg/dl

HDL Cholesterol: aim for greater than 60 mg/dl

Triglycerides: aim for less than 150

To lower your LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, you may try

· Reducing your intake of high saturated and trans fat foods (less than 7% of total calories from saturated fats and trying for 0 grams of trans fat)

· Exercise (aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week)

· Increasing soluble fiber intake

· Losing weight if you are overweight or obese

· Eating less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day. Check out cholesterol levels on the food label.

· Add plant sterols/stanols up to 2 grams per day to diet


fish, water-packed tuna, skinless breast of poultry, lean ground turkey (drained), turkey lunch meats, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, low-fat hot dogs (0-1 gram fat each), dried beans, vegetarian “meats”; lean red meats: not over 3 times/week (leanest types are beef round and sirloin, and pork tenderloin) fatty red meats, organ meats;    regular:  bacon, sausage, hot dogs and lunch meats
egg whites or egg substitutes (may usually have two to three whole eggs/week, poached or boiled) eggs
baked, stewed, steamed, microwaved, broiled, or grilled foods; or stir-fried using cooking spray fried foods
 “good” fats: liquid canola, olive, safflower, corn, soybean, sesame, or cottonseed oils “bad” fats: coconut or palm kernel oil, animal fats, butterfat, solid fats (hydrogenated, called "trans" fats) 
fat-free or oil-based gravies or sauces using “good” oils (above) regular gravies or sauces
salad dressings with “good” oils, whipped salad dressing (fat free, light or regular); mayonnaise (fat free or light) salad dressings with cream, sour cream, cheese, bacon, etc.
margarines (trans fat free is best):  light or fat free tub, fat free squeezable or spray; butter substitutes butter, stick margarine, shortening
low-fat cheeses (0-3 grams fat/oz.) high-fat cheeses
fat-free(best) or light sour cream, cream cheese or dips regular:  sour cream, cream cheese or dips
skim (best), 1/2% or 1% milk whole or 2% milk
ice milk, sherbet, frozen yogurt or sorbet (0-3 grams fat per 1/2 cup) regular ice cream
fat-free or very low-fat desserts and snacks (0-3 grams fat per serving); may be higher in fat if fats are “good” types rich desserts and snacks

Some of the above foods may be high in sodium. Further information is needed for a low sodium diet.

Understanding Your Lipid Profile

Serum Cholesterol 
  under 200 = desirable 
 200-239 = borderline high
240 or above = high risk

  HDL (“Good Cholesterol”) 
60 or above protects your heart
less than 40 increases risk 

LDL (“Bad Cholesterol”) 
under 100 is optimal
100-129 is above optimal
130-159 = borderline high
160-189 = high
190 or above = very high 

  TRG (Triglycerides) 
under 150 is normal
150-199 = borderline high
200-499 = high
500 or above = very high 


If you need additional information call (502) 574-6663