High cholesterol - diet already not too bad?

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I'm a recently retired 53 year old man, and following a blood test have just been told by a Nurse Practitioner at my local surgery that I need to lower my blood cholesterol levels (my current level is just over 6, and she indicated that I should be targeting 5).

I'm a non-smoker, not overweight, and have no family history of heart disease.

Until now I'd always regarded my diet as reasonably healthy (with a few exceptions that I'll explain below), so I was wondering whether anyone could offer advice on the most effective way of tackling my cholesterol issue?

Firstly, I already avoid most foods which are high in saturated fat (meat pies, sausages, pretty much all red meat except liver, butter, ghee, lard, cream, cakes, biscuits, foods containing coconut).

A typical week of food intake looks like this:

- NO BREAKFAST - just orange juice and a multivitamin tablet

- LUNCH: usually one of the following:

- Jacket potato with baked beans and melted cheddar (no butter)

- 2 Fried eggs with baked beans and white toast (unbuttered)

- Cream of tomato soup (200g) with a slice of unbuttered white toast

- 2 pancakes with lemon and sugar

- DINNER (nearly always home-cooked rather than pre-packaged): typically one of the following:

- Pasta with pan cooked vegetables or quorn (usually cooked with sunflower oil or regular olive oil). Sometimes also 100g creme freche and a splash of white wine

- Quorn sausages with mash potato and broccoli

- Pasta with chicken livers, prawns or crabmeat and broccoli

- Quorn chilli with basmati rice.

The bad elements of my diet are:

- chocolate (mostly dark but some milk). I get through 300-400g per week with my meals

- semi-skimmed milk - about 10 pints per week

- Unsalted nuts & fruit - I usually have a bag on the go for snacking, containing peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and raisins. I consume 100-150g per week. The Nurse practitioner told me that I should cut out the nuts, but other advice seems to suggest that they are good sources of polyunsaturated fats??

- the occasional take-away food: fish & chips, chicken curry or McDonalds quarter-pounder with cheese & fries - maybe once every 2-3 weeks.

I know that I need to get more exercise (apart from occasional walks at lunchtime I don't get any), but as well as this I was hoping to get views on my diet and how best to change it to reduce my blood cholesterol? Any feedback would be much appreciated.

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5 Replies

  • Posted


    You should have breakfast. No fruit loops or anything like that.

    One of the best, steel cut oats. make twenty servings and freeze them in sandwich bags, take one out every evening to defrost. Serve with almond milk. At least one serving of fruit. Lunch everyday may be a large mixed salad no oil dressing. Canned baked beans are full of sugar. Make your own using dried pinto beans, soak overnight. Eggs I don't know the view by diticians changes frequently. Pasta unless whole grain is out. No cooking with oil, steam viggies. Sausages out. Crème out. Chicken livers out as is

    prawns and crabmeat.. Brown rice only. Dark chocolate seems good. 10 pints of milk even totally skimmed should be out and only a few nuts per day. I love curry although it should be out unless you make it yourself. Make many servings of various soups and freeze. Fish and chips I love on occasions. Five servings of vegetables and several of fruit daily. The suggestions that I am making are the same as I give to my children who are older than you and I don't think they listen to me all of the time!

    Do your 12 minutes of high intensity exercise every week and make sure your waist line is less than half your height.

  • Posted

    Many thanks for your reply. That's half of my diet that you've just ruled out :0(

    I forgot to mention that I also eat at least one apple and/or banana per day, and am only an occasional drinker (i.e. no alcohol at all most weeks).

    Re. the pasta, the tagliatelle that I usually use is described as "100% Durum Wheat Semolina". The nutritional info is below. Does this look like it could be a good choice?

    Typical values - As Sold 100g of dry pasta contains:

    Energy kcal 349

    kJ 1480

    Protein 11.0g

    Carbohydrate 71.2g

    of which total sugars 2.6g

    Fat 1.3g

    of which saturates 0.3g

    Fibre 3.0g

    Sodium trace

    Salt Equivalent trace

  • Posted


    I don't understand the values you mention but the real test is that the info on the box should say "Whole Grain". It could be that the durum wheat has had most of the goodness removed.

  • Posted

    Hi Ian

    Quite frankly cholesterol has nothing to do with weight. I know quite a number of my colleagues with average weight but very high levels of cholesterol. One of them eats burgers everyday which is quite understandable in his case.

    Above all bad nutrition is the main cause.



  • Posted


    Skipping breakfast or any of the meals is very bad on the part of diet. One must intake complete and highly nutritious food to avoid any health related issues. Take your breakfast regularly and include healthy food items instead of oily fastfood.  Rest diet options have already been mentioned here.


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