View Full Version : where does the fat hide?

11-07-2011, 07:47 PM
so,,, okay.... who's in the "ah sh*t" cholesterol crowd?

I need a jump start in my eduction, as follows:

DW went for annual checkup. early 60's.
cholesterol is "border line high" - I'm working on getting the high/low details.....

Dr. sez: do a low fat diet, recheck in 6 months, perhaps DW will need meds.

here's the cook's problem:

we don't eat out all that much - once, twice a month.
we both hate fast food - haven't had any in hmmm, months.

if we get in a bind, Subway is the sandwich shop of choice - and that's usually a tuna sub (oops, there's the mayo thing . . .)

home cooking is 99.999% 'from scratch' - we don't buy/eat pre-prepared meals or entrees or sides. cream of celery/mushroom soups used for some stuff; baked beans / stewed tomato in the can rounds out the rest of the cans in the pantry.

"from scratch" - ah,,, yeah - need a white sauce? starts with 2 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp flour . . . .

we don't do junk food; just tossed half a bag of potato chips - not much "chip" left - they were so stale you could fold them in half . . .

fresh veggies in season, out of the garden in season-season, typically frozen for not in season.

fish / seafood - 2x to 3x a week - usually baked or poached if not a 'creole' type dish - oh, salmon patties&grits.... none of that pre-made breaded stuff.

red meats - always of the lean variety - we do like a good steak now and then - a Delmonico what... 4-5x /yr? - and DW trims any fat off that...
90/10 ground beef, pour off any excess fat.
pork - trimmed, always
chicken - DW eats white meat only, no skin (heh, works for me - I like the dark meat/thighs/legs.....)
bacon - I buy it in the 3 pound "family box" - 3x one lb packages; I freeze them. the one lb pkg currently in the fridge has 6 slices left and came out of the freezer on 9/10 - it's like butter - we eat it, just not tons of it.

whole grain breads, very varied veggie tastes - okra to winter/summer squash to beans, parsnips, leafy stuff, carrots, lots of raw (&cooked) cauliflower, broccoli, white/green asparagus, cabbage, brussel sprouts - bottom line: if it looks good we eat it.

"salad" type stuff out the wazoo; especially in season.

I use olive oil for saute/frying; I do often use a pat of butter for flavor and browning - we probably go through a pound of butter in about 40-50 days - it's like "limited" consumption (except Christmas cookie baking season - which gets gifted away.)

I do a deep fry beer battered butterflied shrimp - like 3-4x per year - 'house brand' vegetable oil. I don't save the deep fry oil because it goes rancid before I get around to using it a second time.... in terms of deep fry, the shrimp is about the whole story.

the biggest fat standout in our diet is likely cheese. I "stock" multiple varieties - Edam, Muenster, cheddar, provolone, Gouda, fontinella, swiss, Gruyere. the good parm stuff, mozz,,, you name it.

cheese is not low fat . . . and DW has a comfort food penchant for American White - that's now off the list.

other than the cheese issue - my reaction to "try a low fat diet" tends to the "you on a no fat diet" -

so, anyone have a jump start on learning: "where is the fat hiding?"

read-the-label is not likely to be of much value for me-the-cook simply because fresh green beans and potatoes don't come labeled like that (g)

11-07-2011, 08:13 PM
It sounds to me as if you're on the right track. Sometimes it's just genetic and diet doesn't make a difference. You could ask the doctor for a referral to a dietician, but sometimes there's just not much you can do. It sounds like it's not a dangerous problem for her, though :smile:

11-07-2011, 08:36 PM
Your diet sounds pretty good to me too. Maybe add more cholesterol lowering food.

Here's an article from The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002) that may help:

Cholesterol: Top 5 foods to lower your numbers

Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Here are five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.

Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or even a baked potato topped with some heart-healthy margarine? A few simple tweaks to your diet like these may be enough to lower your cholesterol to a healthy level and help you stay off medications.

1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes.
Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6 grams of fiber. If you add fruit, such as bananas, you'll add about 4 more grams of fiber. To mix it up a little, try steel-cut oatmeal or cold cereal made with oatmeal or oat bran.

2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids

Eating fatty fish can be heart-healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of sudden death.
Doctors recommend eating at least two servings of fish a week. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in:

Lake trout
Albacore tuna

You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don't like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flaxseed or canola oil.
You can take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement to get some of the benefits, but you won't get other nutrients in fish, like selenium. If you decide to take a supplement, just remember to watch your diet and eat lean meat or vegetables in place of fish.

3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts

Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts, may reduce your risk of heart disease. Just make sure the nuts you eat aren't salted or coated with sugar.
All nuts are high in calories, so a handful will do. To avoid eating too many nuts and gaining weight, replace foods high in saturated fat with nuts. For example, instead of using cheese, meat or croutons in your salad, add a handful of walnuts or almonds.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants that can lower your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol but leave your "good" (HDL) cholesterol untouched.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends using about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet to get its heart-healthy benefits. To add olive oil to your diet, you can saute vegetables in it, add it to a marinade, or mix it with vinegar as a salad dressing. You can also use olive oil as a substitute for butter when basting meat or as a dip for bread. Olive oil is high in calories, so don't eat more than the recommended amount.
The cholesterol-lowering effects of olive oil are even greater if you choose extra-virgin olive oil, meaning the oil is less processed and contains more heart-healthy antioxidants. But keep in mind that "light" olive oils are usually more processed than extra-virgin or virgin olive oils and are lighter in color, not fat or calories.

5. Foods with added plant sterols or stanols

Foods are now available that have been fortified with sterols or stanols substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol.
Margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. The amount of daily plant sterols needed for results is at least 2 grams which equals about two 8-ounce (237-milliliter) servings of plant sterol-fortified orange juice a day.
Plant sterols or stanols in fortified foods don't appear to affect levels of triglycerides or of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol.

Other changes to your diet

For any of these foods to provide their benefit, you need to make other changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Cut back on the cholesterol and total fat especially saturated and trans fats that you eat. Saturated fats, like those in meat, full-fat dairy products and some oils, raise your total cholesterol. Trans fats, which are sometimes found in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes, are particularly bad for your cholesterol levels. Trans fats raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol, and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol.

11-07-2011, 09:07 PM
ChowderMan, the trouble does not seem to be in your diet. It may be hereditary and not much effected by diet. I would hit the oat meal heavy. Your diet looks fine. You know the numbers were changed some years ago. What used to be "normal" is now "borderline high" and I never agreed with the new numbers. And there are other important lipid numbers; the "good" cholestrol and the "bad" cholestrol and the triglycerides. My bad cholestrol numbers fall in the New Bad numbers but my good cholestrol numbers are way good and my triglycerides are low. All these numbers are important.

Here's a brief overview of lipid panels.


11-08-2011, 12:42 PM
my reaction was along similar lines - certainly there are areas, like the cheese, where cutting back would not out of order - but overall we're not sitting here spooning up grease 'cause it tastes good.

the hereditary factor seems a bit on the outside as her family history doesn't indicate, but who knows....

oatmeal is back on the menu with the colder weather - we'll see where that goes.

11-08-2011, 12:56 PM
After many years of being the only member of my family who didn't have high cholesterol & high blood pressure, it's finally hit me. Sigh.

Luckily (I guess), the doctor feels it's genetic, since my diet is - for the most part - uber healthy. No red meats, lots of vegetarian meals, & LOTS of fruits & veggies. And she told me that reasonable amounts of cheese were okay so long as they were NATURAL cheeses - not processed.

So, I'm on meds, since the doc didn't see anything in my diet journal that she'd want to change. Said I'm on the right track, & the only way to really treat the genetic problem at this point is with meds.

11-08-2011, 02:09 PM
Your body makes cholesterol at night. That why the statins are taken in the evening. My family also has high cholesterol but so far my HDL's are three times the norm. I still cook healthy for the rest of them as you do.

11-08-2011, 02:13 PM
Hi Chowder. Can I ask a stupid question? What do you eat for breakfast, i.e. eggs? You could sub w/ egg whites or eggbeaters, in recipes.

Re Subway (& Quiznos), the tuna salad is swimming in mayo (or whatever), & they have bottled whatever to squeeze on the bread. I just say No to the added sauce/dressing. I buy tuna packed in water.

I have Mastercook on my computer. When I add a recipe, it gives me the fat, sat fat & cholesterol, etc. amounts. They are all different.

I'm a cheese lover, like yourself, but you can shred it over the top. Instead of cooking w/ oil or butter, you can cook (veggies etc.) in low-fat reduced sodium chicken broth. I steam most of my veggies, or oven roast w/ a minimal amount of oil. I also incorporate citrus as a seasoning, i.e. fresh lemon jice etc.

I'm not a doc & won't give you advice or quote articles. What I've learned, from personal experience re fat etc, is to burn it/work it off, i.e. exercise - even if it's a brisk walk around an indoor Mall this time of year. I do drink lots of water & take vitamins (Centrum).

I don't eat much red meat, pork, ham, or bacon. There are other healthy subs. In short, it's about a lifestyle change, & writing down & calculating everything you eat. Stick w/ fresh fruits, veggies, unprocessed & canned foods. Go light on the "seasonings." Good luck. :)

11-08-2011, 02:43 PM
Also, I like Cooking Light:


11-08-2011, 04:27 PM
CC -

that's not a stupid question! the point of my post was to "reveal" hidden sources of un-nice stuff that I (the cook) am not "aware" of.

but to your point, breakfasts is cold cereal and fruit, switching to hot cereal in the colder months. ran the Cheerios thing up the flagpole, got shot down - she's more a granola/raisin brand type.

eggs are perhaps a every other weekend breakfast/brunch. omelet / soft boiled / fried / poached,,, it runs the gamut - but not "two eggs over easy swimming in butter" every day or even every weekend. the other curious thing about eggs I've read is altho they "contain" a cholesterol type fat, oral consumption of egg cholesterol actually doesn't "add" to the body's content. I'm not an expert either, so it's one of those "ah-hmmm" moments - setting aside the relatively low consumption of eggs.

weekends I often make a batch of waffles, we freeze the excess for our own "toaster waffles"
or pancakes - those we don't freeze; to the delight our our local bird population.

"fast food" whether it's McD's or Subway is noted as not the healthiest option. but again, 5-6 Subway sandwiches per _year_ is the order of frequency we experience.

pizza - we only eat "homemade" anymore - I make the crust - has 2 tbsp olive oil for two 12" pies, pepperoni.... oh dear, lots of fat there - I accidentally bought turkey pepperoni once - darn good, so we switched (always wear your glasses when shopping . . . ) cheese, ditto. homemade tomato sauce - no added fats. olives, fresh sliced green/red peppers/mushrooms/onion - again reasonably healthy and we do not do pizza every week. I'd stab at 5-6x / yr.

not on the defensive here - by any stretch - just looking for "you missed xxx, stoopid!"

fruits - I omitted that in my earlier post. we spend a small fortune on fresh fruits - apples, oranges, pears, grapes, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. one can buy any kind "fresh fruit" pretty much year round - might not taste like much off season, but it's fruit . . .

was the thread about "food costs/budget" here? I didn't step into that because I credit charge 99.999% of my grocery shopping and I get a quarterly report "grouped" by vendor and our budget is obscene compared to some I've read. buying only "fresh" and then to boot organic for stuff we eat out of hand / raw has a very measurable price...

since our middle aka 2nd child DW has suffered with weight issues. she does WW - and has the key to prove it (g) starting in Jan she shed 25 pounds for our youngest's June wedding - we're not talking about a lady with no self control. only person I know who can make a Hersey bar last a week and then say "don't buy any more of those" but she doesn't like dark chocolate; go figger.

in all of that she focuses on "calories per serving" - if you go to the salad dressing aisle and look for something with < 80 calories per 2 tbsp, you'll know why I have to wear my glasses when shopping . . .

now fat is "automatically" = calories, but not all fats translate to "oohhhhhhhh your cholesterol levels are too high"

olive oil is a (plant) fat - but it's supposed to _help_ with cholesterol issues.

various nuts are supposed to be a good thing - that's something I need to push a bit. they all have "oil" and "calories" but other than "chicken encrusted with almond/pecan" she's not a big nut eater. otoh, I buy glazed cashews as a preferred snacking item.

basically I'm leaning on the group to uncover the non-obvious - example: peanut butter. we consume a 28 ounce jar in about two weeks. is that a bad habit? heh, it's a nut . . .

11-08-2011, 04:50 PM
Well, actually peanuts aren't nuts at all. They're legumes. Unlike nuts, they grow underground. They're full of fiber and will actually help lower bad cholesterol.

11-08-2011, 06:06 PM
It sounds like you're doing all the right stuff, chowder. It helped me to log everything I ate, & carry around a calorie counter book (at first) when going to the market. Then there's portion size. I would skip breakfast & sometimes lunch, & have a huge heavy meal for dinner (close to bedtime). Bad eating habits, & always in a rush.

Another site I like is eating well.


11-08-2011, 06:50 PM
Your body makes cholesterol at night. That why the statins are taken in the evening. My family also has high cholesterol but so far my HDL's are three times the norm. I still cook healthy for the rest of them as you do.

Just out of curiousity, who told you that your body "makes cholesterol at night", because I've never heard that before. It sort of doesn't make sense. And my doc doesn't care when I take my meds, so as I take them once a day. "When" is up to me. Just wondering where you got this info from.

11-08-2011, 06:59 PM
I got the info from the doctors that treat my daughter. Her doctors are at Olive View Hospital which is the teaching hospital for UCLA. I didn't know that either until she was diagnosed with high cholesterol.

12-06-2011, 01:41 PM
Fibre and plenty of it. Metamucil or any psyllium drink works great without adding all the calories of oats. Fibre binds with bile salts in the intestines and is eliminated with bowel movements. Your body must then make more bile salts and it has to use the excess cholesterol to make more. You must take it regularly for several weeks to a few months to see a significant difference but it does work.

Here is a link. http://www.metamucil.com/

No, I'm not selling Metamucil and don't really like the stuff but I do use it as a precautionary measure.