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Controlling your cholesterol level


Taking action is the best way to keep your cholesterol numbers low. Taking action means following a heart healthy diet that is low in:

  • saturated fat
  • trans fat, and
  • cholesterol;

And rich in:

  • whole grains,
  • beans,
  • fresh fruits and vegetables,
  • unsalted nuts,
  • non-tropical vegetable oils,
  • foods fortified with sterols and stanols,
  • soy,
  • fatty fish, and
  • soluble fiber and oats.

Here are some guidelines to help you take action and get in more heart healthy foods:

Meats, poultry, fish and other protein foods
Instead of Try
High-fat processed and fried meat, cold cuts, corned beef, hotdogs, egg yolks Unprocessed meats including lean cuts of beef, turkey, pork and chicken; egg whites
Seafood like shrimp, lobster, crab Fish, tuna, beans, peas, salmon, walnuts, almonds, tofu, egg whites
Cured meats
Instead of Try
Pork bacon, ham Uncured versions of turkey bacon, lean ham, and Canadian bacon.
Pork sausage and pork Unprocessed pork breakfast products, uncured pork tenderloin or chops
Dairy products
Instead of Try
Whole milk and half & half Skim or 1% milk
Whole milk and processed cheeses Low-fat or part-skim milk cheeses, hard cheeses
Heavy cream, evaporated milk Evaporated skim milk
Sour cream Low-fat yogurt
Fats, spreads, and salad dressings
Instead of Try
Solid fats like lard, butter, shortening, partially hydrogenated oils, tropical oils Small amounts of non-tropical vegetable oils like corn, canola, or olive oil
Regular mayonnaise Non-fat or low-fat types of yogurt and mayonnaise
Regular salad dressing Non-fat or low-fat salad dressing or homemade vinaigrette dressings made with olive oil or vegetable oil
Hellman's canola mayonnaise

Reading food labels can also help you take action and choose heart healthy foods. Look for foods with these nutrient claims on the labels:

  • reduced or less fat
  • fat free
  • low cholesterol or cholesterol free
  • saturated fat free
Hellman's reduced fat mayonnaise
Sargento reduced fat cheese
Philadelphia reduced fat cream cheese
Hidden Valley Ranch fat free salad dressing


If you have questions for the St. Jude dietitians, call the Clinical Nutrition office at 901-595-3318. If you are calling from outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2ST-JUDE (1-866-278-5833), extension 3318.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).