High Cholesterol

Why is high cholesterol important?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood and made by the liver, but some of our cholesterol comes from the food we eat.

High cholesterol is when you have too much cholesterol in your blood. This can increase your risk of heart and circulatory diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

More information about high cholesterol and its causes can be found on the British Heart Foundation website here

How can I lower my cholesterol?

Making changes to your diet, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake and increasing exercise activity can all help to reduce your cholesterol levels. For specific information about this visit the British Heart Foundation page here . Information regarding local support with adopting a healthier lifestyle is available on the One You South Gloucestershire page here

Further dietary information is summarised below:



Eat in Moderation




Use a low fat spread on bread e.g. Gold, Flora Light and supermarkets own brand “light” spread. Benecol Light and Flora Pro-active may also be used. Always use sparingly.

All margarines, butter, fats and oil (oil is still high in calories).

Brush a little oil into a pan to stir-fry – preferably rapeseed or olive oil.


Chicken, turkey, veal, rabbit or game.

Skin should be removed from poultry.

LEAN beef, bacon, ham, pork, lamb, lean mince, liver.

Visible fat on meat (including crackling), sausages, pate, duck, goose, salami, corned beef, streaky bacon.

Meat pies and pastries.


Skimmed milk, cottage cheese, natural low fat yoghurt, natural low fat fromage frais. Low calorie fruit yoghurt e.g. Muller Light, Weight Watchers, Onken Lite and supermarket versions.

Semi-skimmed milk, medium fat cheeses e.g Edam, half fat hard cheeses and “light” cheese spreads. Low fat fruit yoghurt and fruit fromage frais.

Eggs (3-4 per week)

Whole milk, coffee whiteners, all creams, evaporated and condensed milk.

Hard cheeses e.g Cheddar, Cheshire, Blue cheese, cream cheese.

Thick and creamy yoghurts, full fat yoghurt. Greek yoghurt.


All white fish, all oily fish. Tinned fish in tomato sauce or brine.


Fish roes, fried fish, fish tinned in unsuitable oil.


All fresh, frozen and tinned fruit & vegetables. Peas, beans and lentils (tinned or dried).

Boiled and jacket potatoes. Fruit tinned in natural juice.

Dried fruit. Oven chips.

Chips, crisps, roast potatoes. Nuts (including coconut), peanut butter, avocado pears, olives.

Fruit tinned in syrup.


Bread, breakfast cereals, oats, rice and pasta, crispbreads. White (low fibre) versions may be eaten if you dislike the high fibre types.

Muesli, cream-crackers, water biscuits, plain semi-sweet biscuits.

All cakes & pastries, croissants & brioches. Savoury cheese biscuits. Sweet, fancy and chocolate biscuits.

Sugar-coated cereals.


Sugar-free jelly.

Fruit tinned in natural juice.

Custard and milk puddings made with low-fat milk and a sweetener. Sugar- free instant whips made with low-fat milk. Sorbets. Ice-cream (1-2 scoops).

All pies and puddings. Custard, milk puddings and sauces made with full-cream milk and sugar.


Tea and coffee, mineral water. Diet/Slimline/Sugar-free squash or fizzy drinks. Clear soup, low calorie soup, “40” calories per serving bedtime drinks e.g. Options or Highlights.

Unsweetened fruit juice. “Light” bedtime drinks. Alcohol.

Sugar sweetened squash and fizzy drinks.

Cream soups.

Full-fat bedtime drinks.


Meat and yeast extracts, clear pickles e.g. pickled onions, red cabbage.

Artifical sweeteners e.g. Canderel, Sweetex and Splenda.

Sweet pickles, chutney, piccalilli. Reduced sugar jams and marmalade. Reduced calorie or fat-free salad dressings.


Jam, marmalade, honey, syrup.

Lemon curd, mincemeat, chocolate spread.

Full fat salad dressings and mayonnaise.

Sugar. Sweets & chocolates.

A medication might be recommended if:Why might I be recommended a medicine to treat my cholesterol?

  • your cholesterol is very high
  • if lifestyle changes are not enough
  • your overall risk for heart attacks or stroke is too high. Your overall risk will consider a range of factors such as: your cholesterol level, blood pressure, weight, smoking status, age, gender and the presence of other conditions such as diabetes. National guidance recommends treatment with medicine if your risk is 10% (10 people in 100) or greater of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

‘Statins’ are the most common medicine recommended and further information is available on the British Heart Foundation website here .

Like all medicines, statins have the potential for side effects, with the most common being muscular aches and pains. If this occurs please speak to the GP and they will be able to trial a different medicine for you. Evidence suggests having a problem with one statin does not mean that they will all cause the same side effects.

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