9 Things Dietitians Wish You Knew About High Cholesterol


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Recently diagnosed with high cholesterol? Then you should know that some foods can help lower cholesterol and others may need to be limited — or cut from your diet completely. A registered dietitian can be an invaluable resource, especially when it comes to managing your diet and high cholesterol.

Here, dietitians share their insights on what they want you to know if you or someone you love has high cholesterol.

1. Saturated Fat and Trans Fat Have a Big Influence on Blood Cholesterol

We use the same word for the cholesterol in foods as for the cholesterol that gets measured at the doctor’s office in our blood tests — but there are important differences between the two. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), your liver naturally produces all the cholesterol your body needs to build cells. But eating certain foods can raise these natural levels and produce too much LDL cholesterol — the “bad” blood cholesterol. Cholesterol usually isn’t the biggest culprit, however.

A large body of research shows that eating foods that contain cholesterol doesn’t affect the amount of cholesterol in the blood of most people as much as doctors once thought, says Lisa Dierks, RDN, dietitian and regional director for the University of Minnesota Extension Program in Rochester, Minnesota. Instead, saturated fat and trans fat raise LDL cholesterol levels more than dietary cholesterol does, according to the AHA.

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