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Alternative namesDiet - cholesterol
DefinitionCholesterol is a soft, waxy substance present in all parts of the body including the nervous system, skin, muscle , liver, intestines, and heart. It is both made by the body and obtained from animal products in the diet.
FunctionCholesterol is manufactured in the liver for normal body functions including the production of hormones, bile acid, and Vitamin D . It is transported in the blood to be used by all parts of the body.
Dietary cholesterol is present only in foods of animal origin (not in foods of plant origin).
Foods of plant origin (vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds) contain no cholesterol. Fat content is not a good measurement of cholesterol content. For example, liver and other organ meats are low in fat but very high in cholesterol.
Side EffectsExcessive cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis and subsequent heart disease . The risk of developing heart disease or atherosclerosis increases as the level of blood cholesterol increases.
Approximately 25% of the adult population in the U.S. has elevated blood cholesterol levels. More than half of the adult population has blood cholesterol levels that are higher than the "desirable" range, as specified by the medical community. Elevated cholesterol levels often begin in childhood. Some children may be at higher risk than others due to a family history of high cholesterol.
When the level is above 200 mg/dl, the risk for coronary heart disease increases. It is also important to know the levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL, also known as the "good cholesterol") and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad cholesterol"). You must consult your health care provider to measure and discuss your cholesterol profile.
To lower high cholesterol levels, eat less than 30% of the total daily calories from fat . Of that 30%, less than one-third should be from saturated fat and not more than one-third should be from polyunsaturated fat . At least one-third of the total fat calories should be from monounsaturated fat . Less than 300 milligrams (mg) of dietary cholesterol per day should be consumed.
Average American diet:
The low-fat diet example is too low in fat for small children to promote good growth. In addition, it may be difficult for them to consume such a large volume of food. Children should have a diet that is closer to 30% of calories from fat. Lower-fat diets may be appropriate in some cases but require careful follow-up from a physician and dietitian.
Update Date: 10/17/2003David Webner, M.D., Sports Medicine Fellow, Crozer-Keystone Family Practice Program, Springfield, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT