Q: Does caffeine raise blood cholesterol levels?
A: Caffeine is found in many soft drinks, coffee, tea, and to a lesser extent, chocolate. Caffeine does not raise blood cholesterol levels, and research has yielded conflicting results on whether caffeine increases risk of heart disease. Based on current evidence, a moderate intake of caffeine does not seem to be harmful.
Q: Should a person avoid eating eggs entirely?
A: Health experts advise limiting cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less daily. One large whole egg yolk contains about 215 milligrams of cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting egg yolk consumption to three to four times weekly and focusing on the total diet instead of just one food. The cholesterol in eggs is found in the yolk portion, so you can use as many egg whites as you want. Eggs contain B vitamins, iron and other minerals and are a good source of high-quality protein.
Q: Can fat substitutes help lower blood cholesterol?
A: Many low-fat foods and fat replacers have made reducing fat intake easier. Often, however, these fat substitutes are used in foods such as cookies, chips, or desserts. While lower in fat, such foods often contain the same number of calories as their comparable counterparts. Overeating on low-fat foods can still contributes to obesity, which in turn contributes to high blood cholesterol and other health problems. Further, these foods often lack the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy substances found in alternative food choices such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Q: Should a person avoid dairy products to lower cholesterol?
A: Skim milk and low-fat dairy products contain only small amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol and can easily be included in a low-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan. In addition, dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, a mineral that may help prevent the development of osteoporosis, or brittle bones, later in life.
Q: Should people trying to lower their cholesterol level use margarine or butter?
A: Although butter is high in both saturated fat and cholesterol, some margarines may not be much better than butter. Stick margarines that have been hydrogenated, or chemically changed, contain trans-fatty acids, a type of fat that can raise blood cholesterol levels. Choose liquid vegetables oils or soft margarines over stick margarines or butter. The softer a margarine is, the more unsaturated it is. As a general rule, shop for margarine with no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and with liquid vegetable oil listed as the first ingredient.
Q: Can fish oil help lower cholesterol?
A: Although fish oil may lower levels of blood
Q: Should people use oat bran to lower cholesterol levels?
A: Oats and oat bran contain generous amounts of
Q: How do I know the amounts of fat,
A: Read food labels. The labels on the packaging of the foods you buy will list these amounts, as well as other helpful information such as fiber and vitamin content. The quantities given on food labels are on a "per-serving" basis. The top of the label will define what a "serving" is for that particular food.