If you regularly eat whole-milk dairy products, such as ice cream, half-and-half, cream, cheese, sour cream, and butter, chances are good that you're eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol. And that means you are increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol tend to raise total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Saturated fat is found in whole-milk dairy products. Cholesterol is found in dairy products as well.

How to Reduce Your Risk

Take these actions to have a healthier heart.

  • If you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested.
  • Switch to nonfat, 1/2%-fat, or 1%-fat dairy products. It may take some getting used to, but your heart is worth it.
  • Limit your total fat intake so that it totals between 25% and 35% of your total daily calories.
  • Limit your saturated fat intake to less than 7% of your total daily calories.
  • Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.