Learning how to reduce cholesterol levels is easy; putting the information to practical use, not so easy. With seemingly small decisions as what to eat for breakfast having a major impact on cholesterol levels, it’s no wonder the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that someone dies from a coronary event every minute.
But if I’m going to manage my cholesterol levels and reduce my risk of having a coronary event, I’ll need to find practical ways to improve my diet.
According to guidelines published by the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee, a major first step in reducing cholesterol levels is to limit overall fat intake to no more than 35% of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight.
I suppose I could keep a running total of fat calories in the food I eat each day, but that wouldn’t be enough. Within overall fat intake, saturated fats should be limited to less than 7% of total calories, and trans fatty acids should be substituted with unsaturated fats, which are reported to help reduce cholesterol levels.
Let’s see how this correlates with my breakfast. The label on my carton of 2% milk states that just one serving has 5 grams of total fat and 3 grams of saturated fat, or 8% and 15% respectively of the daily value for a 2,000 calorie diet. And at 231 milligrams of cholesterol, one egg – by the way, this includes eggs used in baked goods – almost exceeds my entire day’s worth of recommended cholesterol from food sources.
I’m going to need more research, and I’ll definitely need to get out a pen and pad to tally my fat intake for the rest of the day.