Expert Q&A

Diabetic/Low Cholesterol Diet: What Can You Eat?

Help! I am on a diabetic/low cholesterol diet! What can I eat?

-Carol from South Carolina

You are in luck! Following a low cholesterol diet is the best way for diabetics to eat. To follow this diet, you should be aware of the foods high in cholesterol as well as foods that easily increase cholesterol levels. That way, you can consume less of, or altogether eliminate, these foods.

In addition, because blood cholesterol is raised by saturated fats and trans fats, you should also avoid these foods. Reduce your intake of:

  • Red meats
  • Whole or 2% diary products
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Crisco
  • Lard
  • Tropical oils.

Omit the trans fats in your diet by checking food labels on baked foods and packaged foods. To identify trans fatty foods, look for the term hydrogenated fats. Your diet should be loaded with:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables (especially leafy greens)
  • Olives
  • Small amounts of lean meats and skinless poultry
  • Fish (especially deep water fish)
  • Whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds.

You will be on the right track if you use substitutes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Drink 1% milk or low-fat buttermilk instead of whole or 2% milk
  • Eat nonfat cream cheese or laughing cow cheese instead of regular cheese
  • Eat less cheese by selecting stronger flavored cheeses such as sharp cheddar, feta, or parmesan
  • Use 2 egg whites or ½ cup egg substitute instead of a whole egg
  • Use nonstick cooking spray instead of oil, margarine, or other fats
  • Use a trans fat free margarine instead of butter
  • Grill instead of fry meats
  • Eat colorful vegetables and fruits instead of high-fat snacks
  • Eat homemade, low-fat cookies and pastries instead of store-bought varieties that are high in sugar, butter and usually trans-fats
  • Spice up food with herbs, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.

And finally, keep an eye on your weight. A lower body weight will help to keep your cholesterol, as well as your diabetes, in check.

Megan Porter, RD/LD
Contributing Expert

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