The Weatherhead PET Imaging Center

Food and Heart Disease


Optimal lowering of LDL cholesterol by food management requires reducing all forms of fat in food to less than 10% of calories as fat. For a total of 1800 calories consumed per day, 10% would be 180 calories as fat. Since one gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories, 180 calories would be equivalent to 20 grams of fat. For many people, 1800 calories per day would be too much, causing weight gain. For a weight reducing 1200 calories per day, 10% or 120 calories as fat at 9 calories per gram of fat would be 14 to 15 gms of fat per day. Achieving this goal requires removing most identifiable fat from one’s food. Determining the fat grams in your food easily and practically for each day’s eating is simple by reading food labels and using the attached tables. (Food equivalents)

In practical terms, this requires elimination of all major sources of fat in the diet including margarine, butter, red meat, whole milk and other high fat dairy products, all fried foods, fatty sauces, gravies, and oily salad dressings. In addition to the goals of 15 to 20 gams of fat, the target for cholesterol intake in food each day is less than 60 to 80 milligrams for the day averaged over a week.

This program’s goal of 10% of calories or approximately 15 to 20 grams of fat and less than 60 to 80mg of cholesterol in food each day is much lower than the guidelines of the American Heart Association and National Cholesterol Education Programs, which are 20-30 percent of calories as fat. While the American Heart Association guidelines may reduce the overall risk of vascular disease in the general population, as a preventive measure they do not predictably stabilize or reverse vascular disease that has already developed.