What’s all the hype about cholesterol? You’ve most likely heard from medical professionals about it, read an article about it, or maybe your doctor has personally told you that you have high cholesterol. Unfortunately, this topic can be a bit confusing and there can be a lot of misinformation about how you can narrow it down. For those in need of a low cholesterol diet, you’ll be happy to know that there are low cholesterol meats you can still enjoy. But first, before we get too deep into the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into the common confusion about cholesterol.
There are two main types of cholesterol that you regularly hear about. The first is what you find in your diet, also known as dietary cholesterol. You’ll find it in animal products like eggs, fish, dairy, and meat. Then you have the type of cholesterol that moves through your body, also known as blood cholesterol, which includes LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Your body ultimately depends on a certain amount of cholesterol in your blood due to cell building. However, too high a cholesterol level can lead to major heart complications.
“High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thin and a member of our Medical Expert Council. “If left untreated, it can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, which can ultimately lead to atherosclerosis. This can lead to blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.”
What Impacts Your Body’s Cholesterol Level?
Many factors can affect your body’s cholesterol levels, including age, genetics, exercise and movement, and your diet. But what many people don’t realize is that the cholesterol we consume through food – our dietary cholesterol – may not play a significant role in your body’s total blood cholesterol level. In fact, experts have determined that saturated and trans fats are among the biggest contributors to high cholesterol, which means finding foods low in saturated fat may be more beneficial to your heart health than foods. considered low in cholesterol.
This does not mean, however, that we should totally ignore dietary cholesterol found in the foods we eat. According to the CDC, many products high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat, which makes them potentially dangerous for your heart health. Additionally, the Harvard TH School of Public Health suggests that some people’s blood cholesterol is more affected by their dietary cholesterol than others. In addition, people with diabetes often need to monitor their dietary cholesterol levels more closely.
Are all foods low in cholesterol healthy?
Not exactly. Some foods that appear low in cholesterol are actually higher in saturated fat and sodium. This can ultimately lead to bigger consequences for your health, especially when it comes to your heart health. Conversely, certain products high in cholesterol, such as shellfish, eggs and organ meats (kidney, liver, heart, etc.) are considered relatively healthier because they are also low in saturated fat and high in nutrients. Ultimately, the best way to be sure that your individual health needs are well met is to discuss with your doctor which foods are best for your body.
However, if you’re a meat lover and you’re already watching your dietary cholesterol levels as well as your saturated and trans fat intake, we’re about to make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of the best low-cholesterol meat products you can eat that are also considered low in saturated fat. Read on to find out if your favorite low-cholesterol meat made a difference.
You can’t beat the versatility and ease of cooking with chicken. If you’re looking for meat that’s lower in cholesterol and fat, chicken breast is the way to go because it’s generally lower in fat than beef or pork products. There are only 73 milligrams of cholesterol in half a chicken breast and less than 1 gram of saturated fat.
Some people may be shocked to realize that some cuts of pork may actually be lean, healthy, and very low in saturated fat. In fact, in a 3-ounce serving of Juicy Pork Tenderloin, you’ll only get about 62 milligrams of cholesterol and 1 gram of saturated fat. When it comes to choosing the best cuts of port and cooking them with cholesterol in mind, Young suggests “limiting cuts of meat with a lot of visible fat and trimming visible fat before cooking.”
According to Young, one of the safest things you can do when choosing low-cholesterol meat is “choose chicken or turkey instead of beef and remove the skin before eating.” However, it still depends on how your meat is prepared, as items like fried chicken or deli turkey sandwich meat slices contain more saturated fat than other types of chicken or turkey. Ground turkey, in particular, is a great choice because it contains only 79 milligrams of cholesterol and about 2 grams of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving.
You may have been taught that you should avoid all red meat when monitoring your heart health, but that’s not necessarily true. While some studies have shown that limiting your meat intake and opting for more plant-based foods can help your heart, there are cuts of red meat that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat that can be eaten occasionally. in time (as recommended by your doctor). If a health professional has given you the green light to enjoy cuts of red meat, a great cut of steak that’s low in cholesterol and also low in saturated fat is a round bottom cut. There are only 65 milligrams of cholesterol and about 2 grams of saturated fat in 3 ounces of round steak.
Again, you can usually enjoy beef on a cholesterol-friendly diet, but you just have to be intentional about which type you choose.
“Select lean or extra ground beef and aim for 95% lean meat if you can,” says Young. That’s because in 95% lean ground beef, you’ll only get 70 milligrams of cholesterol and 2.5 grams of saturated fat in 4 ounces. But if it’s too hard to find in stores, you can choose 90% lean beef for 73 milligrams of cholesterol and about 4.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Remember that most people’s blood cholesterol levels will be more strongly affected by saturated fat and other lifestyle factors than the amount of cholesterol they consume in their diet. However, it is important to speak with your doctor in case your individual health needs require you to maintain low dietary cholesterol. If so, these healthy, low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol meats can be delicious additions to your diet.
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