Managing Risk Factors: Nutritional Guidance

At Cedars-Sinai's Nutrition Counseling Services, patients who have already experienced heart problems and persons who are at risk for coronary disease can get nutritional help from a registered dietitian.

Lowering the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the daily diet is an important part of a heart-healthy eating plan. Many people need to re-educate themselves and develop new eating habits.

Our nutrition professionals offer both established and customized diet plans, including:

  • Step One (established by the American Heart Association). Total fat is limited to less than 30% of calories, saturated fat to less than 10% of calories, cholesterol to less than 30mg and sodium to less than 3,000 mg daily.
  • Step Two (established by the American Heart Association). Fat is limited to less than 20% of calories, saturated fat to less than 7% of calories, cholesterol to less than 200 mg and sodium to less than 3,000 mg daily.
  • Very Low Fat/Cholesterol Eating Plans. These specially developed diets have been shown to stop coronary artery disease from getting worse, and at times, cause the disease to reverse. These plans focus on vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes and allow non-fat dairy and egg whites and three ounces of fish or skinless poultry daily.

Whatever eating plan the individual selects, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that people with coronary heart disease should lower LDL-cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) to less than 100mg daily or a total cholesterol reading to around 160.

For some patients, diet changes alone may not be enough to lower cholesterol to acceptable levels. In those cases, the doctor may prescribe daily cholesterol-lowering drugs.

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