Lori's Blog


Why Should Cholesterol and Triglycerides Matter to Me?

Posted 5 years ago by Lori Scholle

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist I am asked a lot of different questions about health everyday.  One of the most common questions is “Why should cholesterol and triglycerides matter to me?”  The answer to this question can be complicated so I have focused this week’s blog on answering it.



What are Triglycerides?

  • The chemical form that most fats exist in our bodies that make plasma lipids along with cholesterol
  • Triglycerides are in foods we eat
  • Triglycerides are also made by our bodies from calories that are not used immediately and stored as fat
  • Too many triglycerides in the blood can increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease

What are Healthy Levels of Triglycerides*?


What is Cholesterol?

  • Cholesterol is a necessary fat that our body uses to keep us healthy.
  • About 75% of our blood cholesterol is made by our body in the liver and cells, the remaining 25% comes from the animal foods that we eat in our diet.
  • Cholesterol screenings can be conducted to assess your total blood (serum) levels of cholesterol, HDL (good) and LDL(bad)
  • HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol and healthy levels have been shown to reduce risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol and if too much of it circulates in the blood it can clog arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

What are Healthy Levels of Total Cholesterol?

Total Cholesterol

What are Healthy Levels of HDL?


What are Healthy Levels of LDL?


What Can I Do to Keep My Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels Healthy?

Through Lifestyle Changes….

  • If You Are Overweight, Reduce Calories To Try To Reach Your Ideal Body Weight
  • Reduce Saturated Fat, Trans Fat And Cholesterol In Your Diet (Whole Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream and Commercially Baked Goods)
  • Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
  • Eat Fruits, Vegetables And Low Fat Dairy Products
  • Exercise At Least 30 Minutes A Day 5 Or More Days Per Week
  • Substitute Fats With Monounsaturated And Polyunsaturated Fats Like Canola Oil and Olive Oil

Through dietary changes…

  • Substitute olive or canola oil for margarine, butter, shortening and lard when cooking
  • Try to eat fish like salmon, trout or mackerel at least 2 times a week to increase the Omega-3 content of your diet
  • Start your day with oatmeal.
  • Try a cholesterol-free egg substitute instead of whole eggs.
  • Substitute regular pasta and white breads with whole grain versions.
  • Increase your fiber intake with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Reach for spices — either while cooking or at the table. Liven up your dishes with oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, or cumin