The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that most people eat less than 200 mg of cholesterol a day. Many of us eat more. The average American man eats 360 mg of cholesterol each day. The average American woman eats between 220 mg and 260 mg.
How Much Cholesterol Is in Common Foods?
Look how much cholesterol is in each of these:
- three-egg cheese omelet with a side of ham, and a glass of 2% milk: 793 mg
- fried fish sandwich with tartar sauce and French fries: 55 mg
- roasted light-meat chicken without skin, baked potato with sour cream, salad with Thousand Island dressing, and a piece of pecan pie: 169 mg
If you eat these three meals in a single day, that's more than 1,000 mg of cholesterol! To learn about the amount of cholesterol in other foods, see Which Foods Contain Cholesterol?
As with fat, it's OK to eat more than your cholesterol limit once in a while. But over several days, your cholesterol intake should average no more than 200 mg a day. Or, follow whatever limit your doctor sets for you.