Too much or too little cholesterol for your child?

Too much or too little cholesterol for your child?

Cholesterol is essential but too much can be bad


Are you concerned about your or your child's cholesterol?

Most people don't realize that our bodies make the cholesterol we need to build our cell walls and to create vitamin D and hormones like estrogen and testosterone. But those who eat foods from animals, like meat, eggs, and dairy products are getting extra cholesterol.  

For some kids and adults, that extra cholesterol can put them at an increased risk of heart disease later in life as it accumulates in the heart's blood vessels. 

Watching your diet help to control your cholesterol 

The typical American diet contains approximately 300 to 500 mg. of dietary cholesterol daily. Reducing intake to half this amount will lower blood cholesterol. It's also shown that saturated fat types of fat and excess sugar can both increase your cholesterol too.

How much cholesterol is there in other foods–and why should we eat them?

  • Egg Yolks:
    • Each eggs yolk contains about 200 mg. of cholesterol (that's about 45% of the maximum cholesterol recommended for a day), But eggs are healthy for kids because they're rich in protein, folate, iron, and vitamins A, E, B6, and B12. And some  have extra omega-3 oils.
    • Eggs are also in many prepared foods, so limit egg yolks to 3 per week for children over 3 years old
    • Egg whites don't have cholesterol, but they have great protein. So using 1 yolk for every 2 to 3 egg whites will reduce cholesterol intake and provide plenty of protein (3 ½ grams in the white from 1 large egg). 
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish:
    • Meat, poultry, and fish provide 35% of a person's dietary cholesterol. There is no significant difference in the cholesterol content of beef, lamb, veal, or poultry. 
    • Fish generally provides less cholesterol than meat or skinless poultry. Substituting fish for meat is encouraged, as is having one meatless dinner per week.
    • The advantage of selecting leaner poultry over meat is that it reduces the total fat. Selecting leaner cuts of meat and trimming all visible fat also reduces cholesterol. 
    • Since all meat, poultry, and fish contain cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends a limit of 5 to 7 ounces (cooked or ready-to-eat portion) daily for kids as well as adults.
  • Dairy Products:
    • Whole milk dairy products provide 20% of the daily cholesterol, whether these are milk, cheese, or yogurt. 
    • The lower the fat content, the lower the cholesterol content as well.
    • Milk after 2 years of age should be 1-2 % (but not skim or no fat)
    • Cheese should be a fat-free or low-fat product and substituted for the daily meat, skinless poultry, or fish allowance. 
    • Many imitation dairy products are now available. Some of these products are cholesterol-free, but the amount and type of fat must also be considered. If choosing imitation dairy products, select the lowest fat content, and avoid highly saturated vegetable fats such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil.