A common conversation that I have with my patients is how they've altered their diet once they have learned that they have elevated cholesterol. Most will tell me that they've cut back on beef, but are eating more fish and chicken, and unfortunately, their cholesterol levels have not improved.
All animal foods contain cholesterol, because like us humans, their livers produce cholesterol. In fact, beef and chicken and fish all have just as much cholesterol in them, so by switching to fish and chicken, dietary cholesterol consumption will not decrease.
More importantly, though, is saturated fat, which raises our bodies' cholesterol levels. Interestingly, animal foods tend to be higher in saturated fat than plant foods. These values are taken from the USDA National Nutrient Database:
Small Hamburger 3.56 grams saturated fat
Lean beef (1/8" fat trim) 1.38 grams
Large egg 1.63 grams
Salmon, 3 oz 1.63 grams
Roasted chicken breast 1.76 grams
However, here are the quantities of saturated fat for several vegetarian sources of protein:
Kidney beans, 1 cup 0.13 grams
Tofu, 1/4 pound 0.69 grams
Veggie burger 0.11 grams
Animal products tend to be high in both saturated fat and cholesterol. So, if you have elevated cholesterol, it is especially important to limit your consumption of animal products.