To a lay person, both the terms - cholesterol and fat - seem alike and often interchangeable. It is important to know the difference between cholesterol and fat; you don't want to exclude them completely from your diet.
What is fat?
'Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water.' - as mentioned in Fat, wikipedia
Types of fat in food:
Omega fatty acids
Saturated fat - this fat is responsible for heart disease.
Recommended Daily Allowance: Nutritionists would suggest that the total intake of fat should be anywhere between 15 - 30 percent of total calories. This depends on your physical activity. Therefore a moderately active person can consume approximately 30% of his/her daily calories through fats, while a sedentary person should ideally cut it down to 10-15%. Keep in mind that these are active additions to the diet, but almost every food has its own share of fat, therefore, some experts argue that even without extra fat addition to diet, you could be consuming a minimum of 10% fat every day.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is produced by the body to help build cells and a membrane around the cell to protect it. Cholesterol is not fat per se, but it is a waxy chemical compound produced by the liver, it is found in cheese, eggs, butter and meat (especially red fatty meat). This compound is carried via the blood with the help of molecules called lipoprotein. Excess cholesterol is not healthy for the heart; it can increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases.
How is cholesterol measured? Cholesterol is measured against counts for LDL - bad cholesterol, and HDL - good cholesterol. LDL should be maximum 130 mg and HDL can be approximately 70mg. In combination, both must not add up to more than 200 mg.
Source: Times of India