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DR. DAVE'S FITNESS FACTS

Having a Ball with your Cholesterol!
by Dr. David Williams

September is National Cholesterol Education Month. Recent studies have shown that cholesterol lowering in people without heart disease greatly reduces their risk for developing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), including heart attacks and CHD-related death. This is true for those with high cholesterol levels and for those with average cholesterol levels.

What makes your cholesterol high or low? Your blood cholesterol level is affected not only by what you eat but also by how quickly your body makes LDL ("bad") cholesterol and disposes of it. In fact, your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, and it is not necessary to take in any additional cholesterol from the foods you eat.

Many factors help determine whether your LDL-cholesterol level is high or low. The following factors are the most important:

  • Heredity
  • What you eat
  • Weight
  • Physical activity/exercise
  • Age and sex
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

Grocery stores are packed with aisle after aisle of different types and brands of foods. The food label can help you to make sense of how to choose healthy foods.

Here are some tips from the Food and Drug Administration on how to use the food label to choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

If the label says

It means that one serving of the product has...
Calorie free Less than 5 calories
Sugar free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar

Fat

Fat free Less than 0.5 grams of fat
Low fat 3 grams of fat or less
Reduced fat or less fat At least 25 percent less fat than the regular product
Low in saturated fat 1 gram of saturated fat or less, with not more than 15 percent of the calories coming from saturated fat
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Extra lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Light (lite) At least one-third fewer calories or no more than half the fat of the regular product, or no more than half the sodium of the regular product

Cholesterol

Cholesterol free Less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat
Low cholesterol 20 or fewer milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Reduced cholesterol At least 25 percent less cholesterol than the regular product and 2 grams or less of saturated fat

Sodium

Sodium free or no sodium Less than 5 milligrams of sodium and no sodium chloride in ingredients
Very low sodium 35 milligrams or less of sodium
Low sodium 140 milligrams or less of sodium
Reduced or less sodium At least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product

Fiber

High fiber 5 grams or more of fiber
Good source of fiber 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber

If you have any questions regarding fitness and wellness, please feel free to contact me at (817) 648-6999.

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