7 Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of lipid found in the blood and in the diet. It has many functions and is a structural part of all body cells, and is an essential component of brain and nerve tissue. It is needed to form hormones, bile, and vitamin D. Many foods contain cholesterol, but mostly it is found in foods of animal origin. Some meats are higher in cholesterol than others, and generally speaking, fish is lower. However, shrimp is high in cholesterol (Grosvenor, Smolin, & Bedoya, 2014).

The human body produces two types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). The “bad” cholesterol is LDL. Some research (Harvard Medical School Patient Education Centre, 2015) suggests that if your LDL level should drop by 1%, your risk of heart disease will drop by 1% to 2%. However, if your HDL level should increase by 1%, your risk of heart disease will decrease by 2% to 4%. There is some research suggesting that HDL and LDL levels are influenced by diet (Harvard Medical School Patient Education Centre, 2015). In particular, fibre may raise HDL levels, but this research is not conclusive. Other researchers have concluded that fish oils may also reduce serum cholesterol levels.

Tables 6a–6e provide the fat and cholesterol content of selected foods.

Table 6a: Fat and cholesterol content of selected meats
Meats 88 g (3 oz.) Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg)
Beef, top round 6 2 84
Beef, short ribs (braised) 18 8 93
Beef liver 4 2 333
Lamb, shoulder lean (roasted) 8 3 83
Pork tenderloin (roasted) 4 1 61
Chicken, breast meat only (roasted) 3 trace 73
Chicken, breast meat with skin (roasted) 8 2 82
Chicken, drumstick meat only (roasted) 5 1 82
Salmon, fresh baked with butter 7 2 43
Sardines, canned in oil 9 2 118
Trout, broiled or baked 13 6 58
Oysters, raw 2 trace 45
Shrimp, canned trace trace 135
Table 6b: Fat and cholesterol content of selected egg products
Eggs Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg)
Large fried in butter 6 2 278
Large scrambled with milk and butter 7 3 282
White raw trace 0 0
Yolk raw 6 2 272
Table 6c: Fat and cholesterol content of selected milk products
Milk Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg)
2% (250 mL) 5 3 19
Skim (250 mL) trace trace 5
Buttermilk (250 mL) 2 1 9
Whole (250 mL) 9 5 35
Table 6d: Fat and cholesterol content of selected cream products
Cream Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg)
Cereal – 12% (250 mL) 31 19 99
Cereal – 12% (15 mL) 2 1 6
Coffee – 18% (250 mL) 46 28 155
Coffee – 18% (15 mL) 3 2 9
Whipping – 35% (250 mL) 88 55 322
Whipping – 35% (15 mL) 5 3 19
Table 6e: Fat and cholesterol content of selected cheeses
Cheese (45 g) Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg)
Cheddar 15 9 47
Feta 10 7 41
Gouda 13 8 52
Gruyère 15 9 50
Mozzarella 10 6 37
Mozzarella (partly skimmed) 7 5 27
Swiss 12 8 41
Cottage, creamed (250 mL) 10 7 34
Cottage, 2% (250 mL) 5 3 20
Cottage, dry curd 0.4% trace trace 10

 

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