Cholesterol: Carbohydrates and Sweets
Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and other grains, and dry beans and peas are generally high in starch and fiber and low in saturated fat and calories. They also have no dietary cholesterol, except for some bakery breads and sweet bread products made with high fat, high cholesterol milk, butter and eggs.
Like fruits and vegetables, naturally low fat, low cholesterol breads and other foods in this group are also good choices. You should be eating 6 to 11 servings of foods from this group each day. If you have high triglycerides and/or low HDL, you should keep your carbohydrate intake below the maximum of 60% of total calories. You can choose a diet up to 35% fat, substituting unsaturated fat for saturated fat. See total fat. When buying foods from this group, remember to:
Choose whole grain breads and rolls often. They have more fiber than white breads.
- Buy dry cereals, most are low in fat. Limit the high fat granola, muesli, and oat bran types that are made with coconut or coconut oil and nuts, which increases the saturated fat content. Add fat free milk or 1% milk instead of whole or low fat (2% milk) to save saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Buy pasta and rice to use as entrees. Hold the high fat sauces (butter, cheese, cream, white).
- Limit sweet baked goods that are made with lots of saturated fat, mostly from butter, eggs, and whole milk such as croissants, pastries, muffins, biscuits, butter rolls, and doughnuts. These are also high in cholesterol.
Sweets and Snacks. Some sweets and snacks -- like baked goods (cakes and cookies) cheese crackers, and some chips -- often are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Here are some low fat sweets and snacks to buy and use only now-and-then:
Angel food cake topped with fruit puree or fresh fruit slices
- Fat free or low fat brownies, cakes, cheesecake, cupcakes, and pastries
- Fat free or lowfat cookies like animal crackers, devil’s food cookies, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps, and vanilla or lemon wafers
- Frozen lowfat or nonfat yogurt, fruit ices, ice milk, sherbet, and sorbet
- Gelatin desserts - watch the whipped cream!
- Graham crackers
- Puddings made with 1% or fat free milk
Just remember that, while these treats are may be low in fat, most are not low in calories. So choose them only every now-and-then, especially if you are trying to control your weight to improve your blood cholesterol levels.
Not all snack foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Buy some of these low fat ones and keep them on hand for snack attacks:
- Bread sticks*
- Ready-to-eat cereals without added sugar*
- Frozen grapes or banana slices; or other fresh fruit
- Fruit leather or other dried fruit
- Low fat or fat free crackers* like melba toast, rice cakes, rye crisp, and soda crackers
- No-oil baked tortilla chips*
- Popcorn (air popped or "light")*
- Raw vegetables with nonfat or low fat dip