Which Meats Have The Lowest Cholesterol Levels?

A leg of hamFor people on a low cholesterol diet, eating meat  can be a tricky issue because virtually all meats have some degree of cholesterol in them. Fortunately there are many meats that are relatively low in cholesterol that can be enjoyed in moderate quantities as part of a balanced diet. The following table shows the cholesterol content of some common meats and meat products listed from highest to lowest cholesterol levels.

Meat Cholesterol (per 100g) Saturated Fat (per 100g)
Beef Brain 1995mg 4g
Caviar 588mg 4g
Beef Liver 381mg 5g
Shrimp 195mg 0g
Bacon 117mg 12g
Pepperoni (Pork,Beef) 105mg 15g
Lamb (Sirloin Chops) 85mg 3g
Chicken Breast (Skinless) 85mg 1g
Chicken Breast (Skin On) 84mg 2g
Sausages (Beef) 83mg 2g
Ground Beef (25% Fat) 82mg 6g
Turkey Breast 74mg 2g
Salmon (Wild Atlantic) 71mg 1g
Salami (Beef) 71mg 10g
Beef Steak (T-Bone) 62mg 8g
Ham (Lean Leg) 61mg 2g
Beef Steak (Eye Round) 54mg 2g
Tuna (Bluefin) 49mg 2g

It is important to note that saturated and trans fat intake actually influences an individuals cholesterol levels more than dietary cholesterol does. Therefore it is important to choose foods that are low in both saturated fat and cholesterol. Meats that are low in both cholesterol and saturated fat tend to be the ones that have very low levels of animal fat or have the visible fat trimmed off the product before eating. Good low cholesterol options include skinless chicken and turkey breast, lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, and most types of fin-fish.

High cholesterol meats to avoid include the internal organs of animals such as livers, brains, and kidneys. Fatty cuts of meat such as porterhouse and skirt steak should also be eaten with caution. Caviar, and most types of shellfish should only be consumed in small amounts due to very high levels of cholesterol.

Current health recommendations are for cholesterol and saturated fat intake to be limited to 300mg and 20g a day respectively so one serving of meat will typically provide between 15 and 30% of your cholesterol and saturated fat allowance.