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Guide to Low

Cholesterol Foods

Cholesterol is found only in foods of How to identify high choles-
animal origin, such as milk, cheese, terol foods
meat, fish, poultry and eggs. The two most concentrated sources
of cholesterol are liver and eggs. The
Plant foods, such as fruits, oatmeal, liver makes cholesterol. Egg yolks
nuts, vegetables, and vegetable short- contain an abundant supply of
enings, do not contain cholesterol. cholesterol for the new cells of the
developing chicks.
Cholesterol is not
the same as fat To summarize, we can give this
general ranking.
Cholesterol and fat are often men-
High cholesterol: Organ meats, eggs.
tioned together, but they are not the
Moderate cholesterol: Meats, milk
same thing. A food may be high in fat
products with medium to high fat
but contain no cholesterol. Peanut
butter is a good example. Although it
Low cholesterol: Milk products with
is high in fat, it contains no choles-
low fat content.
terol because it comes from the
Very low cholesterol: Skim milk
peanut plant. Hydrogenated coconut
oil is another example.
No cholesterol: Plant foods.
In animals, cholesterol is part of the
cell membrane structure of all types Normal blood
of cells. Removing the skin from cholesterol levels
chicken removes most of the fat, but A consensus conference convened
only some of the cholesterol. Trim- by the National Institutes of Health in
ming the visible fat from a pork chop December 1984 published guidelines
removes 20 percent of the fat but only to identify moderate and high risk
10 percent of the cholesterol. levels of blood cholesterol as
measured in milligrams per deciliter
Because cholesterol is an integral part (mg/dL).
of animal cells, all animal muscle is
similar in cholesterol content. Fish, Age Moderate High
chicken, turkey, beef, and pork vary (years) risk risk
widely in fat content but have fairly 2-19 >170 >185
equal amounts of cholesterolabout 20-29 >200 >220
20 milligrams per ounce of meat. 30-39 >220 >240
40+ >240 >260
In dairy foods, however, the amount of
cholesterol depends on the amount of Individuals whose blood cholesterol
fat. Milk is secreted from animal cells. levels are below the risk levels proba-
It is not made of cells like meat. It bly do not need to reduce their food
has no cholesterol-containing cell cholesterolunless their current
membranes. But, because cholesterol intake is higher than the American
is fat-soluble, it rides with the fats in Heart Association recommendation of
milk and milk-based foods. The more 300 mg per day (average). And thats
fat a dairy product contains, the more likely because the average American
cholesterol it will also contain. eats 400 to 500 mg cholesterol daily.

North Central Regional Extension Publication 335

Sponsored by the Extension Services of Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Lincoln University, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ohio. In
cooperation with Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D.C.
March 1995
Even for individuals with identified high blood Cholesterol content of selected foods
cholesterol, however, the need to reduce food Food Cholesterol
cholesterol is less important than the need to (3 1/2 ounces) (mg)
reduce calories, total fat, and saturated fat (see Beef, prime rib, lean only 81
Pm-1341, How To Eat Less Fat ). lean and fat 86
Beef, ground, extra lean 84
Test your knowledge regular 90
Which of the following foods contain cholesterol? Pork, loin, lean only 81
lean and fat 84
ham, regular 59
Cottage cheese Yes No
bacon 85
Soybean oil margarine Yes No Bologna 59
Apple pie Yes No Bratwurst 60
Fish Yes No Lamb, lean only 122
Blueberry muffin Yes No lean and fat 122
Veal cutlet 128
Answers: Cholesterol is present in cottage Duck 89
cheese, fish and a muffin (contains egg and Chicken, fried with skin 167
milk). Soybean oil margarine does not contain roasted, no skin 85
Turkey, dark meat 85
cholesterol. Apple pie contains cholesterol if the
light meat 69
pastry is made with lard but not if the pastry is Catfish, breaded, fried 81
made with vegetable shortening. Cod, baked 55
Haddock, baked 74
Be alert for foods that are advertised as choles- Salmon, baked 87
terol-free. Remember that all plant foods, for Tuna, oil packed, drained 31
example peanut butter, are naturally cholesterol- water packed, drained 42
free, regardless of the brand. Crab 59
Clams 67
For more information Shrimp, breaded, fried 177
boiled 195
These publications are available at county
Lobster, boiled 72
extension offices: Eggs, whole (2 eggs) 548
Cholesterol in Your Body, Pm-1338 yolk (6 yolks or 1/3 cup) 1602
Foods and Your Cholesterol, Pm-1339 white 0
How To Eat Less Fat, Pm-1341 Milk, whole 14
How To Eat Out Without Raising Your Cholesterol, 2% 7
Pm-1342 skim 2
What You Should Know About Triglycerides and Yogurt, part skim 6
Fatty Acids, Pm-1343 whole 13
Cheese, cheddar 107
swiss 93
mozzarella, part skim 54
This publication is not intended to provide medical pasturized processed cheese food 64
advice or a therapeutic diet for existing health cream 111
problems. For advice on personal health matters neufchatel 76
consult with a physician or registered dietitian. cottage, creamed 15
dry curd 7
A list of references is available upon request from Ice milk 7
B-1 Curtiss, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Ice cream, regular 44
premium 59
Sherbet 7
Cream 137
Non-dairy creamer, dry 0
Non-dairy whipped topping 0

Source: Human Nutrition Information Service, 1976-1987.

Composition of Foods. Handbooks 8-1 through 8-16.
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

In cooperation with NCR Educational Materials Project

Prepared by Elisabeth Schafer, Ph.D., Iowa State University Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work. Acts of
extension nutrition specialist and Diane Nelson, Iowa State Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S.
University extension communications specialist. Department of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services of
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
Programs and activities of the Cooperative Extension Service are Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, Robert M. Anderson, Jr., director, Cooperative Extension Service,
sex, age or disability. Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa 50011.