Ask the Dietitian: All About Cholesterol by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, November 11, 2011
When it comes to our cholesterol, there’s a lot of confusing information out there. So we asked our Facebook fans their burning cholesterol questions. Here are two great questions about cholesterol that many dietitians are commonly asked.
Q: I read that the cholesterol you eat does not affect your cholesterol numbers, but rather it’s the saturated fat you need to watch. Is this true? Can I eat shellfish and lean meat and not worry about my cholesterol?
A: It’s true that saturated fat influences your cholesterol numbers more than the cholesterol you eat.
Studies show that it’s really the saturated fat found in foods like whole milk and dairy products, baked goods, fatty beef, pork, and lamb and chicken (especially the skin) that have a bigger influence on raising your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Shellfish are high in cholesterol, but they’re pretty low in calories and saturated fat too. Three ounces of raw shrimp has 90 calories, 1 gram fat, minimal saturated fat, and 129 milligrams of cholesterol (which is 43 percent of your daily recommended amount of cholesterol). Moderation is still important. You can get a low-calorie meal with a 3 to 4 ounce portion of shellfish and still be within your recommended amount of cholesterol for the day. The same goes for eating lean meats. You don’t need to be afraid to incorporate these “high” cholesterol foods into your diet. Many of them are actually good for you.