USING MARGARINE INSTEAD OF BUTTER WILL
LOWER MY CHOLESTEROL.
Both margarine and butter are high in saturated fat, which
increases LDL-C, so use both in moderation. Limiting food
high in saturated fat and trans fat may help reduce bad
cholesterol. Most vegetable oils and soft or liquid margarines
have less saturated and trans fat than solid spreads, and are
preferable to the stick forms of margarine for a heart-healthy
diet. When selecting a margarine, choose one that has 0
grams trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label.
THIN PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT
Any body type can have high cholesterol. True, overweight
people are more likely to have high cholesterol, but
everybody, including thin people, should have their
cholesterol checked regularly. People who do not gain
weight easily are often less aware of how much saturated
and trans fat they eat. Nobody can “eat anything they
want” and stay heart-healthy.
SINCE THE FOOD LABEL ON MY FAVORITE FOOD
SAYS “LOW CHOLESTEROL,” I CAN BE SURE IT
Many “low-cholesterol” foods contain high levels of
saturated fat and/or trans fat — both of which contribute
to raising LDL-C. Some foods that claim to be “low-fat”
may have a higher fat content than expected. Look for
the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and total calories
in a serving of the product. Also check the size of one
serving. Often it’s smaller than you think. The first item
listed in the ingredients list is the one used most in the
product, so choose products where fats and oils appear
near the end of the list.
Remember that one change — like switching from butter
to soft margarine — is a good step, but may not be enough
to reduce your cholesterol to healthy levels. Other diet and
lifestyle changes or medication may be needed, as your
RAISING HDL-C: DO THE RIGHT THINGS
So far, efforts to increase HDL-C levels with drugs haven’t proven to
reduce cardiac risk, and no HDL-C enhancing drugs have been approved by
the FDA. There are some dietary and lifestyle changes that can help, but Kris-
Etherton cautions not to expect big changes.
• Get physically active. Some studies suggest that physical activity can
raise HDL. The American Heart Association recommends three to four
40-minute sessions of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per
week for adults trying to lower their LDL cholesterol or blood pressure.
• Eat better fats. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats described
above can raise HDL-C levels.
• Cut out trans fats. Not only do they increase LDL-C, they decrease
• Lose weight. Being overweight increases LDL-C and reduces HDL-C.
Losing even a few pounds will increase your HDL-C and lower your
LDL-C and blood pressure.
• Stop smoking. Smoking decreases HDL-C levels, and stopping smoking
may increase them.
Even if making these lifestyle changes results in only a small
change in HDL-C levels, keep at them — they’re all good for your
Cholesterol in the Family
For more, visit our Common Misconceptions
About Cholesterol page on Heart.org.