Cholesterol in food

Some foods contain cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is called dietary cholesterol. Foods such as kidneys, eggs and prawns are higher in dietary cholesterol than other foods.

The cholesterol found in food affects your own cholesterol levels far less than the amount of saturated fat that you eat.

The cholesterol present in our blood is a fatty substance produced by the liver from food that contains saturated fat.

If your GP has advised you to change your diet to reduce your blood cholesterol, the most important thing to do is to cut down on saturated fat. It’s also a good idea to increase your intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre.

In 2009 according to the Food Standards Agency  the UK is currently eating 20% more saturated fat than UK Government recommendations.

Too much saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.

Long term, a diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks, angina and stroke – or cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the most common cause of death in the UK and in 2006 was responsible for about one in three premature deaths

FSA’s annual survey of Public Attitudes to Food Issues (PAFI) found:

  • 94% had heard of saturated fat and
  • 61% stated we should be eating less,

and yet the UK continues to eat more than is recommended for our health.

Tips to reduce saturated fat intake include: cutting the fat off meat, switching to lower fat dairy products, and using vegetable oils instead of butter when cooking – all designed to help shift people’s everyday habits with the aim of improving the nation’s overall diet related health.

You can test out the amount of saturated fat in your diet using the Nutrition Program!

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