Dairy products such as skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese can be beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. These products are rich in calcium, which has been shown to help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Additionally, they contain a type of fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which may help lower cholesterol levels.
Egg yolks are high in dietary cholesterol–each contains about 213 milligrams. So, egg yolks are limited to no more than 4 yolks per week. This includes the egg yolks in baked goods and processed foods. Check the label to see how much cholesterol the food contains or ask the bakery if the recipe uses whole eggs. Limit these types of foods for occasional treats.
Egg whites have no cholesterol, and you can substitute them for whole eggs in recipes — two egg whites are equal to one whole egg. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitute in place of whole eggs – In many baked goods, you can’t tell the difference.
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
Like high fat meats, regular dairy foods that have fat — such as whole and 2% milk, cheese, and ice cream — are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. However, dairy products are an important source of nutrients. You should eat 2 to 3 servings per day of lowfat or nonfat dairy products. Here is a guide to buying low fat and nonfat dairy foods:
- Buy fat free and 1% milk rather than whole or 2% milk. Fat free and 1% milk have just as much or more calcium and other nutrients as whole milk – with much less saturated fat and cholesterol.
- When looking for hard cheeses, go for the versions that are “fat free,” “reduced fat,” “low fat,” or “part skim.” Choose varieties that have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce.
- When looking for soft cheeses, choose low fat (1%) or nonfat cottage cheese, farmer cheese, or part-skim or light ricotta. Some of these cheeses have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce.
- If you are watching your sodium intake, choose lower sodium cheeses. Read the label to compare the sodium content.
- Buy frozen desserts that are lower in saturated fat, like ice milk, low fat frozen yogurt, low fat frozen dairy desserts, fruit ices, sorbets, and popsicles.
Other Dairy Products
- Buy low or nonfat yogurt; like many other dairy foods, it is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Eat lowfat or nonfat yogurt alone or as a topping or in recipes. Try topping with fruit or eating with granola.
- Try lowfat or nonfat sour cream or cream cheese blends. Many taste as rich as the real thing, but have less fat and calories.