If you have high cholesterol and are considering a diet to lose weight, you are not alone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 94 million adults in the United States over the age of 20 have borderline high or high cholesterol. Cholesterol can build up in your arteries, narrowing or stopping the flow of blood, and potentially causing a heart attack or stroke.

If you have high cholesterol, your healthcare team may recommend that you change your lifestyle. If you have a problem with weight or are overweight, you can lose weight by getting more exercise and tweaking your diet.

It may be hard to choose among a lot of popular and highly publicized options. One of the most common pieces of advice is to stick with a diet, but there is a caveat. Some diet plans can make your cholesterol worse.

“Let’s look at which diet choices can help you lower cholesterol.”

When choosing an eating plan, it’s helpful to know which foods can be helpful in weight and cholesterol management. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following foods as the basis for a heart-healthy diet:

  • Lean cuts of meat without skin are low in saturated fat.
  • The healthy fats found in fish, avocados, There are seeds., and There are There are nuts.. are minimally processed.
  • Fruits and vegetables are not included.
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta are examples of foods made mostly of whole grains.
  • Lean and unprocessed forms of meat are mostly from plants.
  • Two meals per week of fish with high levels of fat.

Foods to avoid

Foods that increase cholesterol and contribute to weight gain are included.

  • Red meats and fat meats are not trimmed.
  • Whole milk, cream, ice cream, butter, and cheese are full fat dairy products.
  • baked goods made with saturated and trans fats
  • The ingredients panel has words likehydrogenated oils.
  • Coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils are tropical oils.
  • Solid fats include shortening, stick margarine, and lard.
  • Fried foods.
  • There are foods with a lot of salt.
  • There are sugar-sweetened beverages.

It is nice to have general recommendations, but many people prefer a more clear plan.

If you are one of those people, here are some of the best research-backed, heart-healthy diet options. The adherence rate on these diet is higher than average. You are likely to stick to them for the long term.


The Mediterranean diet is tops on most lists and has the most research backing it. It includes:

  • There are lots of vegetables, beans and chickpeas.
  • There are fish and seafood.
  • A little red wine.
  • There are There are fruits..
  • There are There are nuts..
  • whole grains
  • Extra virgin olive oil is extra virgin.


The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was crafted specifically to stop high blood pressure. It’s part of a plan that also includes exercise. But, it’s also proven to reduce cholesterol.

The recommendation is to eat a diet rich in calories.

  • There are There are fruits..
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • low fat dairy products.

The DASH diet also calls for reducing total fat, especially saturated fat.


The National Institutes of Health developed the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. It includes eating based on certain numeric guidelines and getting 30 minutes a day of physical activity most days of the week. Key dietary recommendations are:

  • Saturated fat contributes less than 7% of your daily calories.
  • 200 is a day of cholesterol.
  • 25% to 35% of calories from fat.
  • 2 grams per day of plant stanols or sterols.
  • 10 to 25 grams per day of soluble fiber
  • only enough calories to reach or maintain a moderate weight

Dean Ornish

The Dean Ornish diet is a low fat, lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. That means you avoid eating meat from animals, but you can have milk and egg products. In this case, it allows for egg whites and nonfat dairy.

The diet emphasizes eating plants. Tofu, beans, and tempeh are some of the plant sources of yourProtein. It limits sugar and emphasizes whole grains and healthy fats.

Though there isn’t much new research available, an older 2009 study found that the Ornish diet was effective at reducing total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.


The Flexitarian diet has become more popular over the years. It’s a popular choice for some people who tried going fully vegetarian or vegan but may have found that eating plan too hard to stick to, or wanted some animal foods in their diets.

A 2015 study found that people who occasionally strayed from a vegetarian or vegan diet had significantly reduced their cholesterol and lost weight. A 2017 review also found that a Flexitarian diet improved metabolic health and blood pressure, and reduced the risk of diabetes.

The Flexitarian diet has lifestyle recommendations.

  • Eat mostly There are There are fruits.., vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Focus on the plants for the most part.
  • Meat and animal products can be incorporated from time to time.
  • Most natural forms of food are processed.
  • Limit the amount of sugar and sweets you add.


The vegan diet has become one of the most hyped eating plans, followed by an ever-lengthening list of celebrities. It calls for cutting out all animal products. This can reduce cholesterol greatly, as long as you stick to:

  • whole grains
  • lots of There are There are fruits..
  • vegetables
  • There are There are nuts..
  • There are seeds.

A 2018 study concluded that, in most countries, a vegan diet can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The study also showed reductions in body mass index (BMI), waist size, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

South Beach (maybe)

Some studies suggest that low carb diets raise your LDL cholesterol levels. But the South Beach Diet claims to do just the opposite. An older study found that the South Beach Diet did reduce LDL and total cholesterol.

The South Beach diet doesn’t call for totally eliminating carbs, but rather choosing those with a low glycemic index. It’s a phased program that initially calls for cutting out carbs, then reintroducing them a little at a time.

The types of fat andProtein you eat will affect your cholesterol level. The South Beach meal plan reduces saturated fat and lowers cholesterol.

How long before I see results?

Lowering cholesterol levels with healthy dietary choices takes time. Some research on plant-based diets has seen small results in as little as 4 weeks.

The combination of diet and exercise may yield quicker results. A 2019 case study saw a 33-year-old male cut his cholesterol levels by more than 50% in just 6 weeks with an altered fat diet and moderate exercise.

Losing 5% to 10% of your body weight may lead to significant reductions in LDL cholesterol in people who are at a higher risk of having heart problems.

How long that takes depends on how much you weigh when you start and how much you maintain a deficit of calories. Consistency in taking in fewer calories is the key to weight loss. A deficit of 500 calories per day will result in 1 pound of weight loss.

Some diet plans are risky for heart health. Some of these are based on a way of eating. They may be effective for weight loss, but they allow or recommend a high intake of foods that raise cholesterol.

Some popular diets that recommend this approach may lead to weight loss but higher cholesterol. According to the AHA, some have been linked to early death. It all depends on the types of fat and carbohydrate you consume.

Some diet can contribute to higher cholesterol.


The ketogenic (keto) diet involves whittling down your total carbohydrate intake to 20 to 50 grams per day. You get the bulk of your nutrients from protein and fats to force your body to use ketones instead of glucose (a kind of sugar) for fuel.

The keto diet can be safe and healthy for many people. But for others, it may worsen high cholesterol. This is especially true if you have familial hypercholesterolemia.

If you get your calories from processed foods and saturated fats, the diet can raise cholesterol. These are present in meat and dairy products.


The Atkins diet entails eating all the protein and fat you want as long as you avoid high carb foods. Because it creates a calorie deficit, it’s effective for weight loss. But it also has the potential to include very high levels of saturated fat and processed meat, such as hot dogs and bacon.

A small 2018 study found a 44% increase in LDL cholesterol over 3 weeks in young, healthy adults on the Atkins diet compared to those who continued with their regular eating habits.

If you have high cholesterol or are at high risk of developing it, your doctor will recommend lifestyle and diet changes. It can be hard to choose the right diet because there are so many.

Several diet have been used to lower cholesterol. The Mediterranean Diet, DASH diet, and the TLC diet are included. Reducing cholesterol can be achieved by a plant-based diet.

High-fat, low-cholesterol diet are high to avoid. Some of the diet plans call for a lot of red meat, fat, and dairy, which raise cholesterol, even though they help people lose weight.

Picking a diet that is heart-healthy is the key to long-term success. Talk to your healthcare team if you are unsure about which diet to choose.