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Nebraska Department of Education
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301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-9487

(800) 731-2233 (Nebraska Only)
or (402) 471-2488
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Child & Adult Care Food Program

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What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance. Cholesterol is used by your body to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and some hormones and digestive juices. Your body gets cholesterol two ways: it makes cholesterol and it gets cholesterol from the foods you eat.

How is cholesterol listed on the food label?

The amount of cholesterol in a serving of food is listed in milligrams (mg) and as a per cent of the Daily Value on the nutrition label. The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value) for cholesterol gives a general idea of how much cholesterol a serving contributes to the total daily diet.

Nutrition experts recommend diets that contain 300 milligrams of cholesterol or less per day. This number stays the same for all calorie levels. The % Daily Value for cholesterol on the nutrition label is based on 300 milligrams.

What's the difference between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol?

Dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol are two different things. Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in foods. Only animal foods contain dietary cholesterol. Blood cholesterol is the cholesterol is the cholesterol in the bloodstream. It comes from foods in the diet and the body's own manufacturing process.

Why worry about cholesterol?

Eating a diet higher than recommended in cholesterol and fat, especially saturated fat, may increase blood cholesterol levels in some adults. A high blood cholesterol level is associated wtih increased risk for heart disease.

What is saturated fat?

Saturated fat, a type of fat, is a concentrated source of calories for the body. There are three kinds of fats: saturated fats, monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

How is saturated fat listed on the food label?

The amount of saturated fat in a serving of food is listed in grams (g) and as a percent of the Daily Value on the nutrition label. The Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value) for saturated fat gives a general idea of how much saturated fat a serving of food contributes to a 2,000 calorie reference diet.

Nutrition experts recommend diets that contain 30 percent or less of calories from total fat, with about 10 percent coming from saturated fat. The % Daily Value for saturated fat on the nutrition label is based on 20 grams. This number comes from a 2,000 calorie reference diet that has about 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. It is rounded for labeling.

Why worry about saturated fat?

Eating a diet higher in saturated fat than recommended may increase blood cholesterol levels in some adults. Saturated fat may raise blood cholesterol levels more than anything else in the diet. A high blood cholesterol level is associated with increased risk for heart disease.


NUTRITION SERVICES > CACFP > CHILD CARING > WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?