Stopping smoking is the #1 thing you can do to improve heart health.
As others have said...."do make an appointment with your doctor for a blood test on your cholesterol level and complete lipid profile. This will help to direct your eating plan for the future.
And finally, as the dietitian for Sparkpeople, I do respect each individual's right to choose the diet pattern that they desire; however.... It is also the responsibility of this site to keep our 15 million members safe and informed regarding food and nutrition recommendations. The current recommendation for dietary cholesterol intake is 300mg daily or less. 1200 milligrams (as one member stated) does greatly exceed this amount and would not be a recommendation supported by this site, our experts or key health groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association or the Cancer Institute.
Just wanted to point out that when someone is talking about your cholesterol, what is important is your test, not cholesterol intake.
What is your actual cholesterol level, as well as your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. I consume 1200 mg of cholesterol a day ( 4 X the RDA ), and mine is low( 119 ), and my HDL is 46.
There are many factors that affect Tchol, and it is only one way of looking at health. A low HDL is a much greater risk than a slightly elevated Tchols, as are high triglycerides.
You may be high in cholesterol intake, but have a low cholesterol. There is no link between dietary consumption of cholesterol, and Tchol. That would be like saying if you ate leafy greens, your skin would turn a mint color.
I thank everyone for all the input. Fantastic discussion. I had no idea of half the information I have received here today. I do enjoy eggs, usually not more than one a day. I also enjoy a bit of cheese, more so lately since I have been snacking on the cheese strings. It takes so long to eat one, I can literally be snacking for 1/2 hour on one 60 calorie snack. I'm fighting hard this time. I have taken weight off in the past when I was younger, but I'm much older now, and since I quit smoking 10 weeks ago its a daily struggle.
I eat a lot of cholesterol and the only thing that has happened me is I have low triglycerides and high HDL.
From - Balancing Cholesterol Synthesis and Absorption in the Gastrointestinal Tract
"In addition to bile salts, cholesterol is secreted into bile at rates that vary up to 2 g/day.6,14 Within the intestine, biliary cholesterol mixes with cholesterol in the diet. The average American diet contains approximately 0.4 g of cholesterol per day. Consequently, most cholesterol within the intestinal lumen is derived from internal sources via bile, whereas the diet contributes a relatively minor fraction.
Rates of cholesterol absorption vary widely in the population from as little as 25% to around 80%, and average approximately 50%"
Translation - If you don't consume enough dietary cholesterol your body will make it for you because it is essential. Cholesterol in cells plays an important role in the regulation of hormones.
There are many harmful things to heart health other than dietary cholesterol.
Smoking Alcohol Stress Sedentary Lifestyle Not Sleeping Enough
I'd worry about fixing those things first. And if all those things are good and you're still worried get a coronary calcium scan. It will tell you if you have calcifications and are therefore at risk for having a heart attack.
"A coronary calcium scan is a test that looks for specks of calcium in the walls of the coronary (heart) arteries. These specks of calcium are called calcifications (KAL-sih-fih-KA-shuns).
Calcifications in the coronary arteries are an early sign of coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque (plak) builds up in the coronary arteries.
Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause chest pain or discomfort called angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh).
If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. This is the most common cause of a heart attack. Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries."
Cholesterol is essential, and you need it in moderate amounts. But too much is not good. I looked at your nutrition tracker, and to reduce your cholesterol numbers you may want to choose less beef and cheese and ham. Yesterday, for example, a bacon cheeseburger -- which may totally not be as bad as it sounds. There's a place for bacon in a healthy diet, and also for cheese or beef, but put them all together on one day and it will add up. For snacks, instead of cheese you might try an ounce of nuts. Or possibly try chicken or fish instead of beef.
For me personally it was hard to get away from eating a lot of beef, because that's how I grew up and that's what I knew how cook. I still eat hamburgers once in awhile. I have started to naturally gravitate more towards chicken, lentils, beans, or fish though.
What you want to look at is if this is something that repeats itself a lot. One or two days of being over won't be bad. But if you want to eat within the Spark People limit, try to find foods that have less animal fat.
Dietary cholesterol intake is only one factor regarding your heart health.
There are many factors that are more important such as weight, not smoking, exercise, decreasing saturated fat, increasing fiber, eating fatty fish, getting in your fruits and veggies, etc.
I imagine the days you have 1-2 whole eggs, your cholesterol intake is super high. However, research has shown that having 1 whole egg daily (even though high in cholesterol) does not increase blood cholesterol levels when you are also practicing other heart healthy habits.
What foods do you notice that really jump up your cholesterol intake?
Becky your SP Registered Dietitian
4/16/14 6:13 P
I think the Spark recommendation, if you add cholesterol as "something to track", is to aim for 250mg or less per day?
Are you managing that "on average"? Days where you eat a lot of eggs, meat and/or dairy, it might be hard to keep it down that low. A couple of eggs for breakfast, yogurt for lunch and a pork chop for dinner and BAM!
But you know, I wouldn't really worry about it too much. It's good to be mindful... but the cholesterol measure that MATTERS is the one that comes from the blood test your doctor sends you for. "Eating cholesterol" doesn't exactly equate directly to "having high cholesterol levels in your body."
If your average daily intake is truly stratospheric, you might want to run the "see full daily report" which will show you exactly which foods were responsible for your cholesterol intake... then modify your portion sizes or choices accordingly.
Ok I have been eating well, I think. Salads, watching my calories, cutting back on both fat and sugar consumption, plus staying within my caloric allowance for the day. All sounds good right??? Just checked out the nutrients at the bottom of my page. My cholesterol intake has been huge. Well above what I'm supposed to be taking in. What am I doing wrong?? Eating healthy shouldn't raise my cholesterol I'm confused and don't understand what I'm supposed to be doing. Are the levels ok if they are good cholesterol I'm taking in? Need advice here.
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