Stanford Nutrition Studies Program

A cholesterol lowering diet is a good idea for a lot of people but especially for those at risk for heart disease or who have been told by a doctor that they need to lower their cholesterol. Cholesterol Lowering Diet Tips.


Trans Fats – These are fats that are even worse for heart disease than saturated fats! FDA now requires labeling of trans fat products on packaged foods and as a result they are rapidly disappearing from you supermarket shelf due to marketplace forces at work. However, they may well be in your plate at restaurants where no labeling is required. Montgomery County, Maryland was the first jurisdiction to ban trans fats from restaurants in 2007. Since then Brookline, MA, King County (Seattle), WA, and Louisville, KY have followed. New York City is phasing in a total ban effective 7/1/08. Such asking is a form of market place pressure!

Table 4. Food Label Terms for Fat Fat-free Less then 0.5 grams per serving size listed on the label. Low-fat 3 grams or less per serving. Reduced or less fat At least 25 percent less per serving than the reference food. Saturated fat-free Less than 0.5 grams saturated fat and less than 0.5 grams trans fatty acids per serving. Low saturated fat 1 gram or less per serving and not more than 15 percent of the calories from saturated fatty acids. Reduced or less saturated fat At least 25 percent less per serving than the reference food.

Lean meats are ideal for healthy lunches. Tuna packed in water is low in calories and high in protein and is easy to eat at home or the office. Couple the tuna with some whole grain crackers and a small salad dressed with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing and you will be satisfied until dinner. Chicken is also a great protein for individuals that are looking to lose weight and lower their bad cholesterol levels. Leftover baked chicken can be placed on top of a salad dressed with a low cholesterol salad dressing or simply a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

Should children in the family change their eating habits? Infants and teens are growing at a very rapid rate. It is important that the food they eat supply the calories and other nutrients they need. There’s a danger that cutting out or down on foods that contain fat (meat, milk, egg) will mean there are not enough calories and other needed nutrients such as calcium and iron for normal growth to occur. In fact, some physicians have reported seeing children whose growth has been stunted because parents severely restricted fat intake. Experts agree that diets of infants and children up to age two should not be changed. Lifestyle Changes

The heart pumps blood through blood vessels called arteries. This blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients needed by tissues and organs throughout the body. The heart itself is supplied with blood vessels called coronary arteries. When cholesterol levels rise above normal limits and stay high, some cholesterol is left behind in the arteries. Over the years, waxy cholesterol plaques build up on the artery walls, and so reduce or block blood flow. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, a stroke occurs. When plaque blocks a coronary artery, angina or a heart attack may be the outcome.

Most American diets include an intake of much more LDL than HDL. This means that LDL accumulates in the arteries of the body and brain, forming what is known as a plaque. With continually high levels of LDL in the body, these plaques grow larger, and blood flow through the artery is increasingly restricted. The continued presence and accumulation of plagues in the body leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, according to the American Heart Association. Because of its negative effects on the health of the body, LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol.