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How Much Cheese Is Too Much?

I was talking to my grandmother the other day and she asked me what I was making for dinner. When I said, "homemade mac and cheese," she said, "You shouldn't eat cheese. It'll clog your arteries." While she's right that the cholesterol in cheese can be harmful to your heart, that doesn't mean you necessarily have to give it up entirely.

Eating foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats, mainly dairy products, meat, and eggs, can raise the total level of cholesterol in your body, which can lead to heart problems and stroke. When it comes to cholesterol, you want to shoot for:

Total cholesterol level HDL level (good cholesterol) LDL level (bad cholesterol)
Less than 200 mg/dL 60 mg/dL or higher Less than 100 mg/dL

So what does this mean when it comes to your diet (and your cheese consumption)? I'll tell you if you

No matter what, after you hit 20 years old, you should get your cholesterol checked every five years. If your total cholesterol is over 200 mg/dL, your HDL level is less than 40 mg/dL, you have other risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke (such as high blood pressure), or you're a man over 45 or a woman over 50, your doctor will probably recommend you get it tested more often.

If you get your cholesterol checked, and everything seems healthy, then it's OK to consume about 300 mg of cholesterol a day. If your levels aren't looking too good, then my gram is right — you'll want to cut back on the cheese, meat, eggs, and other dairy products and consume less than 200mg of cholesterol a day. Look for low fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat.

Fit's Tips: Another great way to improve your cholesterol, is to get at least 30g of fiber a day, limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day, and be sure to exercise regularly.


Join The Conversation
Pinsey15280111 Pinsey15280111 3 years
Have you noticed when dining out that the menu always shows a large photo of a hamburger loaded with cheese dripping down the side of it? What is going on? I am so glad that I was raised in a family where we never had: cheeseburgers, anything where salt was added, no deep fried foods, no donuts or chips of any kind. Our treats were apples, oranges and bananas. HIGH cholesterol has a terrible effect on how you feel. Read the side effects of high cholesterol on the internet, you'll stay away from fatty foods, plus the drugs we use to bring the levels down, cost a FORTUNE! NO heart attacks in our family for sure.
iRose iRose 9 years
I like cheese too much to give it up entirely.
missloulou missloulou 9 years
i switched to vegan cheese when i became a vegetarian...and once you get used to it you won't even crave the old stuff! it's a lot better for you too. that mouse in the picture is ridiculously cute.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I don't eat much cheese, mostly because it blocks my colon; not because it clogs my arteries, lol. Cheese does have quite a bit of saturated fat, which is the kind that your body converts to cholesterol pretty easily so it's probably a good idea to limit it to only a few servings a week. If you like cheese a lot, choose part skim or skim milk types (like string cheese or skim mozzarella). Or choose a really hard, flavorful cheese and only use a sprinkle or so of it at a time.
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
i couldn't live w/o cheese- there's no need to cut stuff like that out of your diet entirely- just eat it in moderation!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I like cheese but rarely eat a lot of it...
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
I love cheese and have it every day (the babybel light ones are great).
JudyRie JudyRie 9 years
I eat very little meat or eggs, so cheese and other dairy is really the only dietary source of cholesterol for me. I had my levels checked a year ago and they were great. I definitely get enough fiber, and usually keep my sodium to a low level. So the cheese is staying in my diet. I don't eat much, but relish what I do!!!
ur_momm ur_momm 9 years
i definitely will never cut cheese out... nor cut down on it, it is just too damn good. i could go for some cheese right about now. some nice aged cheddar... Mmmmmm
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
I definately need more fiber in my diet!
Lorrie30 Lorrie30 9 years
Yucky, cheese is not in my diet. I did not even eat it when i was a kid. **************Very picky eater***************
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I had my mom's homemade mac 'n cheese this weekend.... sooooo good, and it wasn't TOO unhealthy this time since she used high fiber macaroni! :woohoo:
hottpink hottpink 9 years
Man, I love cheese so much...I could eat that whole block of swiss!
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