DEAR PEGGY: I have high cholesterol, but I don't know the recommended amount of cholesterol I should have each day. I also can't tell if a recipe is high or low in cholesterol. Would you please let me know? —M.H., Blaine, Minnesota
PEGGY: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day for most people. If you have coronary heart disease or your LDL cholesterol level is 100 mg/dL or greater, limit cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day. The best way to tell if a recipe is high or low in cholesterol is to check the nutrition facts label, keeping your limits in mind.
Remember, the amount of saturated and trans fat you eat actually has a bigger impact on blood cholesterol than the cholesterol you get from your diet. According to the AHA, you should limit saturated fat to less than 7 percent and trans fat to less than 1 percent of calories. There are 9 calories in each fat gram, so if you eat about 2,000 calories a day, you should get no more than 15 g saturated fat and 2 g trans fat. About 2 g of trans fat likely occurs naturally in the foods we eat each day, leaving little room for foods with added trans fat, such as hydrogenated oils.