A review of the research (Cochrane 2012) found that by modifying the types of fat we eat the risk of heart attack or stroke was reduced by 14%. We also know from this research that simply cutting out saturated fat isn’t the answer – there are now plenty of ways your diet can lower cholesterol and improve heart health.

To understand which dietary changes will benefit you the most, you must ‘know your numbers’. There are 3 main lipids that make up your total cholesterol (TC). LDL is considered a ‘bad’ fat because it causes damage and blockages in your blood system. Triglycerides (TG) are arguably the most harmful fat and makes significant contributions to heart disease. HDL is considered a ‘good’ cholesterol and has a protective effect on your vascular system.

Foods and lifestyle changes that will lower cholesterol

According to the European Society of Cardiology and Atherosclerosis Society (European Heart Journal 2016) the following dietary changes are the most likely to lower cholesterol levels:

  • Reduce saturated fat to less than 7% of calories

  • Swap saturated fats for mono and polyunsaturated fats

  • Reduce/limit intake of trans fats as much as possible

  • Increase dietary fibre intake to 25-40g/day

  • Use foods enriched with phytosterols 1-2g/day

  • Reduction in body weight  by at least 10kg

  • Increase physical activity habits

  • Reduce alcohol to 2-3 units/day for men and 1-2 units/day for women

  • Reduce/limit simple sugars (e.g. table and fruit sugars)

  • Reduction in carbohydrates

  • Use Omega-3 supplement

Putting it all into action

There is a lot that can be done to lower cholesterol levels through diet but putting it all together can be tricky. A dietitian can review your blood results and provide an eating/meal plan, recipes and shopping list to suit you. The effects of dietary changes take about 3 months to be seen in your blood test results so it is a good idea to get support early on to incorporate the changes early and keep them going before going back for your next blood test.

To get more help with high cholesterol, book an appointment with one of our dietitians below.

Anna Darcy, Accredited Practising Dietitian

Anna D'Arcy

Anna is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and co-director of My Nutrition Clinic who has worked for over two decades in the development and delivery of weight management programmes for adults and children. Anna has a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics along with a Masters in Public Health and has worked in both Australia and London (UK). 


Favourite nutrition areas:

Weight management

Bariatric surgery


Eating Disorders

Gut issues

Credentialed Eating Disorder Dietitian


Chantal deSousa

Hi! I’m Chantal and I am an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with an interest in the nutrition and wellbeing of all individuals. I have a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetic Practice from Bond University and a Bachelor of Medical Research (with Honours) from the University of Tasmania.

Since graduating, I have been working in private practice and aged care. I am very interested in gut health and have post-graduate certification from Monash University in IBS management. I have experience helping people manage their weight and chronic diseases. I am not one of those dietitians who will tell you to stop eating your favourite foods. I prefer to develop personalised eating plans that you enjoy and make you feel good while improving your health. The benefit of seeing a dietitian is that you can eat some of what you like while improving your health!

My favourite nutrition areas: 


Weight management


Chronic disease management

Amber Schilder Dietitian

Amber Schilder

Amber Schilder is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who graduated from Griffith University and grew up on the Gold Coast. Amber became a dietitian after  seeing how much food can impact someone’s health in a positive way. Amber enjoys helping people finding ways to incorporate simple yet effective changes to eating habits.  Amber loves food and loves to see her clients gain more enjoyment from food through her individualised eating plans and food swaps. Amber has worked many years in the catering team at Gold Coast Private Hospital and more recently has been creating individualised meal plans in private practice.  Amber has an interest in:IBSWeight managementDiabetesChronic disease management