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How many mg of cholesterol are acceptable when checking package labels?

Some labels list low cholesterol or no cholesterol, but the fats are higher or saturated and the sugars are high.  Some "healthy" recipes list cholesterol mg/serving, but I don't know what amount is considered acceptable.

Related Topics: Cholesterol, Recipe

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Family Medicine
61 Answers
3,336 Helpful Votes

It is great that you are taking the time to read labels! There is a lot of good information packed into that small space. And you are correct! A lot of the terms can be confusing and sometimes even downright misleading. There is more to a healthy diet than just watching how much cholesterol or total fats you eat. You have to look at the whole picture. You have already noticed that some supposedly healthy foods may have low cholesterol, yet be packed with other bad fats or sugars. 

The first thing you want to look for on the label is the serving size and how many servings are in the package. Then check the calories. Remember to double the calories if the package contains 2 servings and you are going to eat the whole thing. Your doctor can tell you how many calories a day you need. 

Next you may want to hone in on the amount of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and salt in each serving. These are things you will want to limit. According to the American Heart Association, an adult should limit the amount of cholesterol eaten in one day to less than 300 mg. Aim for foods that have less than 5% in the “% Daily Value” column next to cholesterol on the label. This is less than 15 mg of cholesterol in a serving. 

Here is a link to a great WebMd article that goes into much more detail about checking labels for fats and cholesterol.

If you need more help, ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist to help guide you through the maze of labels.

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