Many people believe that they should automatically avoid high cholesterol foods. However, medical research on this topic suggests that most people do not need to be too concerned with consumption of cholesterol, but need to be especially concerned with consumption of certain types of fats. People who have conditions like heart disease or diabetes are cautioned by the medical community to avoid especially high cholesterol foods, but they also must watch their intake of saturated fats and trans fats. In particular, trans fats are the most damaging and raise bad cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoproteins) blood levels while lowering good cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoproteins) levels, and these should be a minimal part of any diet or completely eliminated.
Some people do seem to have a nearly automatic response when they eat high cholesterol foods. These folks are called responders, and they should avoid foods high in dietary cholesterol. For most people though, eating something like an egg a day is not going to greatly affect cholesterol levels, and they should be more mindful of reducing saturated and trans fats in the diet.
A list of high cholesterol foods that some people should avoid include the following:
- Eggs contain about 225 mg of cholesterol per egg.
- Beef liver has 300 mg of cholesterol per a 3.5 oz (99.22 g) serving.
- Beef kidney contains 375 mg of cholesterol in a 3.5 oz serving.
- Sponge cake made with egg yolks can have 260 mg of cholesterol per a serving of 3.5 ounces.
- Butter has 250 mg of cholesterol in 1 oz (28.35g).
Other high cholesterol foods include hard and soft cheeses, though an ounce serving of these may only contain about 25-30 grams of cholesterol. 3.5 ounces of ice cream has about 45 mg of cholesterol, and lower fat versions may contain even less. The same amount serving of foods like lamb, beef and chicken provides 60-70 mg of cholesterol.
Most people are asked to keep cholesterol limits to 300 mg a day. It is possible to have small steak and a serving of ice cream without reaching 300 mg. However, two eggs can easily put someone over their cholesterol limit for the day, as can toast or a baked potato heaped with butter.
Those who are responders or who have known heart conditions and diabetes may be asked to limit cholesterol intake to 100 mg a day, and this can cut out some foods. With some careful planning though, people may be able to have some of their favorites. Skipping cholesterol for two days in a row could mean they could have an egg on the third day and stay in these limits. Alternately, many people will have egg whites because the yolk contains most of the egg’s cholesterol.