People whose blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are undesirably high should consume a diet that is relatively low in total fat and saturated fat. To do this systematically, it is necessary to become fully aware of what you are eating. This means getting into the habit of checking labels to determine the amount of cholesterol and the amount and type of fat. You should also pay attention to the “Hidden” fats found in processed foods such as cookies, crackers, and snack cakes, and the kinds of fats and oils used in their own cooking.
The next step is to make substitutions. For example, leaner cuts of beef (select or choice rather than prime) should be used, and consumption of fish, poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and other legumes should be increased. Foods high in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables can be made the “Main dish”, with small amounts of red meats and cheeses becoming the “Side dishes”. Mixed dishes such as stews, casseroles, and pasta and rice meals can combine small amounts of meat with other foods, such as grains or vegetables.
Finally, evaluate your progress by having your blood cholesterol tested within a few months and then periodically as recommended by the professional who is guiding them. The goal should be a gradual but steady reduction in your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
Low–fat eating has another potential benefit. Because obesity is often associated with a high–fat diet, some researchers suspect that low–fat eating offers promise as a weight–control measure. However, research in this area is in only its early stages. Datillo AM. Dietary fat and its relationship to body weight. If you have a serious cholesterol problem or want help in figuring out how to modify your diet, consult a registered dietitian.
- Trim all visible fat from beef and poultry, and remove the skin from poultry before eating.
- Bake, boil, or roast meat dishes instead of deep–fat frying them. To prevent drying and add flavor, baste with wine, lemon juice, or a low–fat broth.
- Try experimenting with herbs and spices, such as dill, tarragon, cilantro, and basil.
- Avoid fatty gravies and sauces.
- If pan or stir–frying, use small amounts of vegetable oils such as canola or safflower oil, also increase your use of olive oil.
- Minimize use of butter.
- Minimize use of products, such as margarines, that contain partially hydrogenated oils (trans–fatty acids).