The results of your routine bloodwork have revealed that you have high cholesterol. Now what? Fortunately, the first line of treatment for high cholesterol is usually modifying your diet. However, deciding the best diet for high cholesterol can be challenging since there are so many options, all claiming to promote health.
But it is vital to understand that each individual has unique needs, and everyone should opt for customised meal plans that work best for them.
Regarding high cholesterol, you must know that consistently high cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart-related health issues. Hence, one must consume food that allows for the free circulation of blood to avoid the risk of a heart attack from clogged arteries.
Those with high cholesterol could benefit from embracing a low-fat diet. It would require reducing the amount of food consumed high in saturated and trans fats, which can raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) that obstructs the arteries.
Understanding Low Fat Diet for High Cholesterol
A low-fat diet effectively reduces fat storage and helps you reach your weight-loss goals. Furthermore, it helps lessen the consumption of unhealthy fats that can clog your arteries. It involves limiting the amount of fat you consume and emphasising healthier fat sources such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Adopting a low-fat diet involves reducing fat consumption through the food you eat. Studies have suggested that lowering the average amount of fat you eat can decrease your risk of heart-related health issues and death. However, before making any dietary changes, it is essential to remember that your body needs all nutrients in moderation to operate correctly.
Most people find it challenging to plan the perfect meal for themselves, and naturally so. With so many options on the internet, it can get confusing to prepare the best diet plan. Hence, one must always consult an expert nutritionist.
However, with the prevalence of modern-day innovation and technology, apps like HealthifyMe can be your best companion. You can subscribe to HealthifyMe and get access to various meal plans to lower your cholesterol levels. Moreover, you can talk to expert nutritionists, and they can assist you in preparing a meal plan depending on your health condition.
Low-Fat Diet for High Cholesterol: How Does it Work?
To transition to a lower-fat diet, people can make simple food swaps such as exchanging red meat for fish or a plant-based protein source such as tofu.
Additionally, replacing solid fats with liquid vegetable oils and pureed fruit in baked goods can help reduce fat intake. Despite what one may think, some fats are essential for good health.
So it is crucial to focus on swapping saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats when trying to reduce cholesterol. Research shows that doing so can help lower cholesterol levels effectively.
A low-fat diet limits your fat consumption to less than 30% of your total calorie intake. It means that 15-20% of your calories should come from fat. While this is a general guideline, it is best to consult a registered nutritionist to determine your ideal fat intake, considering your individual needs.
A low-fat diet also provides essential vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients for the body to function correctly. To ensure you get all the essential nutrients, you should consume various foods in adequate amounts. A healthy diet that fulfils your requirement for all essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients is vital to lead a healthy life. Hence, it is best to opt for a customised diet plan.
Dietary goals in a low-cholesterol diet do not emphasise restricting total fat. Instead, they advise replacing saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The quality of fat is more important than the total fat intake.
The HealthifyMe Note
A diet with reduced amounts of saturated and trans fats can help lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, in the body. High LDL levels can cause a narrowing of the arteries, blocking blood flow and increasing the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Trans fats can also lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, which helps remove fatty deposits in arteries. Therefore, to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, it is vital to reduce the intake of foods that contain saturated and trans fats.
Low Fat Diet – Foods That You Can Eat
A low-fat diet doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to a few food choices. You have plenty of options! Here are some of the best foods to include in your low-fat diet:
Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta
- Whole wheat bread, oatmeal
- Puffed rice, puffed wheat
- Whole wheat, brown/red rice and whole grain pasta
- Seasonal whole fruits
- Soft melon
Milk and Dairy Products
- Fat-free milk
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Cottage cheese (low-fat)
- Fresh and well-cooked vegetables
- Raw vegetables and vegetables with seeds
- Sauerkraut, winter squash, and mushrooms
- Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, baked beans, corn, and garlic
- Eggs without added oil
- Lean meat like skinless chicken and turkey
- Fat-free salad dressing with lemon, plain gravies
- Dry fruits like apricots, raisins, etc.
- Herbs and spices, broth and soups made with recommended foods
- Green tea, lemon tea, herbal tea, etc.
- Fat-free puddings, fruit custard, sorbet
Low Fat Diet – Foods to Avoid
When adhering to a low-fat diet, it is essential to be aware of the foods to avoid. Here is a list of foods to stay away from:
Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta
- White bread, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers
- Any packed chips or cookies
- Fast food products and pasta sauces
- Canned fruits
- Fried fruit products
Milk and Dairy Products
- Full-fat milk and its products
- Flavoured yoghurt
- Full-fat milk custard
- Ice cream
- Fried vegetables
- French fries or fried potato in any form
- Beef, lamb, ham, veal, pork
- Eggs cooked in extra oil or butter
- Butter, refined oils, mayonnaise, sour cream, high-fat salad dressings
- White sugar, jelly, and packaged syrup
- Coffee or tea containing sugar and full-fat milk, carbonated beverages or soda
- Cakes and cookies or hard candies
- Gelatin, high-sugar puddings, ice cream, popsicles
The Simple Strategy to Follow: Low-Fat Diet for High Cholesterol
People looking to lower their cholesterol levels through their diet can try the following strategies:
- Replace fatty meats with lower-fat choices such as “select” or “choice” grades of meat or poultry, such as chicken and turkey, over higher-fat poultry, such as duck and goose.
- Limit processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs.
- Incorporate more meals with beans, vegetables, and plant-based protein sources, such as black bean roasted patties, lentil soup, sauteed vegetables, tofu stir-fry, and vegetable and lentil chilli.
- Eat more fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon.
- Switch to liquid vegetable oils, such as olive or avocado oil, instead of lard or shortening.
- Bake with pureed fruits like applesauce or mashed bananas as a substitute for butter and oil.
- Choose whole-grain bread and brown rice instead of white bread and white rice.
- Replace full-fat dairy with low-fat dairy, such as skim milk, low-fat cheese, and yoghurt.
Cooking Techniques to Prepare Low Fat Diet for High Cholesterol
One can aid in maintaining a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet with specific cooking techniques. These include:
- Removing the fat from meat and removing the skin from poultry before cooking,
- Choose broiling, baking, or grilling instead of frying, basting, and roasting meat with fruit juice instead of pan dripping.
- Cooking soup stock and stews a day ahead of time and removing the hardened fat before serving
- Always prepare the vegetables with less oil and choose vegetable oil, such as avocado or olive oil.
- Flavouring vegetables with spices and herbs rather than packaged vegetables with seasonings and sauces
- Use low-fat dairy products such as low-fat milk, cheese, and yoghurt
- Avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage
A Sample Low Fat Diet Plan for High Cholesterol
If you are still deciding what to include in your diet, it is best to get the advice of a nutritionist. You may also refer to a sample 7-day diet plan to help you plan your low-fat diet by looking at the different food products you can use.
- Breakfast: Whole Wheat Bread Sandwich with roasted/grilled chicken and veggies
- Lunch: Cooked quinoa with Veggies, Lentil Soup
- Dinner: Steamed broccoli and roasted black chicken
- Breakfast: Whole grain bread vegetable sandwich, boiled eggs with pumpkin seeds
- Lunch: Mashed sweet potato, roasted fish, Cucumber Lettuce Salad
- Dinner: Steamed beans, Low-Fat yoghurt with Carrot, cucumber sticks
- Breakfast: Water-poached eggs and whole-wheat toast
- Lunch: Mashed potatoes, Quinoa, pasta with low-fat sauce, Vegetable Salad with no-fat lemon herbs dressing
- Dinner: Baked chicken, boiled carrots, and lentils.
- Breakfast: Oats with low-fat milk and berries
- Lunch: Whole grain wrap with chicken breast and cooked mushrooms
- Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with baked cottage cheese (low-fat) and stir-fried spinach
- Breakfast: Millet/oats flour pancakes, blueberries, ripe banana, yoghurt
- Lunch: Whole grain noodles, peeled cooked carrots, sauteed asparagus tips with stir-fried Tofu
- Dinner: Multigrain Tortilla Veggies wrap, Clear Chicken Soup
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, mashed sweet potato, skim milk
- Lunch: Black beans and red/black rice vegetable soup, sauteed asparagus
- Dinner: Extra-lean ground turkey and white bean chilli, low-fat cornbread, green salad
- Breakfast: Apple, No fat savoury egg muffin, low-fat yoghurt berry smoothie
- Lunch: Cucumber salad, a multigrain bread tofu sandwich
- Dinner: Multigrain Tuna wrap, steam vegetables with salt and pepper
Please Note: The diet above is only a reference diet and may not suit every individual. Hence, it is better to consult an expert nutritionist before switching to any diet.
You must follow a low-fat diet to reduce high cholesterol levels and support healthy levels. It should consist of 20-30% of total calories from dietary fat, emphasising lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.
Additionally, foods high in saturated fat and trans fat, like red meat, full-fat dairy products, processed meats, and fried foods, should be avoided or limited. Instead, focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Finally, exercise regularly to support healthy cholesterol levels further.
HealthifyMe India’s leading health and wellness app looks at practical food choices that suit your condition. HealthifyPRO 2.0 can come in handy if you are concerned about your weight or a specific health condition.
A CGM-based blood glucose monitoring lies at the centre of this approach. It throws up real-time data, which helps the coaches assess your nutritional needs.
Technology advancement keeps you connected to the coaches always. Any spike in blood glucose levels due to food or activity input is studied, and dietary modifications are suggested based on that. As a result, it is a more extensive consultation that looks beyond just following a calorie-controlled diet plan.
It also comes with metabolic panel testing that has over 65 parameters. It is recorded at the beginning and repeated periodically. After a few months of following the plan, the markers improve.
A smart scale shows how your body composition changes with proper dietary modifications. It is never about losing weight. It is about having the correct weight that keeps you metabolically healthy.
With HealthifyPRO 2.0, you get to understand your body better. So look beyond superficial health and talk to the team at HealthifyMe. It is the future of fitness that is customised and personalised based on your unique body and its response to external triggers like stress, a sedentary lifestyle, wrong eating and sleeping.