How Does Dietary Cholesterol Affect Blood Cholesterol?

A diet rich in saturated fats and cholesterol increases the blood cholesterol levels. As much as saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol levels, high intake of cholesterol can also increase your blood cholesterol levels. Sometimes, the effect can be twice as bad as saturated fats, because high cholesterol foods are normally high in saturated fat as well.

Which Foods Contain Cholesterol?

Almost all animal foods contain cholesterol but not in plant foods. Foods of animal origin like poultry, fish, meat, milk or eggs contain some cholesterol. Foods which are high in animal fat are usually high in cholesterol as well, except eggs and liver which are high in cholesterol but not high in fat.

  • Eggs contain high quantity of cholesterol since they contain large amount of protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to support a developing embryo.
  • Liver also contain large quantity of cholesterol since the body organ that produce cholesterol is the liver.

How much cholesterol is considered as high?

The American Heart Association experts recommended 300 milligrams of cholesterol or less than that each day. But, for people with heart disease should limit their daily intake of cholesterol to 200 milligrams or even lesser. Still, we should understand that by maintaining low dietary intake of trans and saturated fats, we can significantly reduce our dietary cholesterol intake. Because, foods rich in saturated fat normally contain substantial quantity of dietary cholesterol.

  • The average American man consumes more than 35o milligrams of cholesterol per day.
  • The average American woman consumes more than 240 milligrams of cholesterol each day.

So, what really matters is your average daily intake of cholesterol over time and not your exact total intake of cholesterol each day. For example, you take scrambled eggs on Saturday’s for breakfast and eat lean meats, fish and poultry along with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grains for the rest days of the week. Then, your average daily intake of cholesterol is likely to be lesser than 300 milligrams.

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