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​​​​​​​​​A diet high in less healthy fats, especially saturated fats and trans fats, can be potentially harmful to your health. It can increase your blood cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart diseases. You can reduce this risk by replacing most of the saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.

Saturated fats are typically found in high fat meats and dairy products such as butter and fatty cuts of beef and pork, while trans fats are found in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as french fries, doughnuts and processed snacks.

Here are some tips on how you can manage your diet, to lower your blood cholesterol level.

  • Read food labels

    Choose foods that contain ≤3g fat per 100g (or ≤1.5g per 100ml) or compare two similar products and pick the product containing lower fat content per 100g (or per 100ml). As far as possible, get food products that come with the “Healthier Choice Symbol”.

    You may also go for products that do not have hydrogenated fats/oils in the ingredient list and are labelled trans-fat-free.

  • Include foods that are high in plant sterols in your daily diet

    Plant sterols help to reduce your cholesterol levels. Examples include fortified food such as milk, orange juice and bread.

    The recommended intake for plant sterols is 2g a day. Try to aim for two to three servings of milk with plant sterols to meet this requirement.​

  • ​Go easy on sweetened drinks and foods

    Excessive simple sugar intake may increase your level of triglycerides - a type of fat (lipids) found in your blood - and lead to weight gain.

    Examples to avoid include soft drinks, fruit juices, white/brown sugar, syrup, honey, sweets and candies, and desserts such as cakes and brownies.

  • Boost your fibre intake

    Eating more fibre can help to reduce your cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, whole grains and legumes.

    ​Aim to make at least half of your consumed grains wholegrains, and try to have two servings of fruits and vegetables each daily.

  • Consume foods that contain monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead 

    Foods with monounsaturated fats include nuts, vegetable oils and avocado, while foods with polyunsaturated fats. include salmon, sardines, tofu and chia seeds.

    Eating these can improve your blood cholesterol level and decrease your risk for heart disease.

  • Drink alcohol in moderation

    Excessive alcohol intake may raise your triglyceride levels and contribute to weight gain. Try to keep within the recommended daily intake of no more than two drinks for men and no more than one drink for women.

​- ​​Article contributed by Nutrition & Dietetics Service​​, Allied Health Services -

Lifestyle & Wellness; Food & Nutrition

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