What are high cholesterol foods?

Beware of not only high cholesterol foods, but more importantly, the bad fats.
Read more below to understands fats & cholesterol found in foods & how they ultimately affect your cholesterol.

The better the foods taste, the higher the chance that they're high cholesterol foods. It is one of irony's of life and one of the tragedies of life as well - the better it tastes, the more cholesterol it seems to contain.

To start with, understand that there are two main nutrients in the foods you eat that make your cholesterol high. The high cholesterol foods contain:

  • saturated fat, a type of fat found mostly in animal products; and
  • cholesterol, which comes from animals as well.

Saturate Fats = High Cholesterol Foods

Saturated fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol level more than anything else in the diet. Eating too much saturated fat is the main reason for high cholesterol levels and a high rate of heart attacks. It makes sense that reducing the amount of saturated fat you eat is a very important step in reducing your cholesterol levels.

If you stop them completely you don't miss anything (except the taste - and actually this is really a lot to miss), since your body makes all the cholesterol you need. As such, it is not necessary to take in any additional cholesterol from the foods you eat.

Cholesterol "Free" Foods

You must be aware of "cholesterol free" foods, because cholesterol coming from foods (or dietary cholesterol) is hardly as harmful as the amount of saturated fats in your food.

You can call them foods that cause high cholesterol, or high cholesterol foods, but in reality it is not the cholesterol content that makes them harmful. It is the fat, or better the saturated fats (which come mainly from meats, nuts and dairy foods), which causes the liver to produce more harmful cholesterol.

Your Liver & Cholesterol Foods

The liver produces 4 times the amount of cholesterol from our diets. This makes saturated fat much more harmful than dietary cholesterol and renders dietary cholesterol as quite as negligible factor for your high cholesterol levels, or cardiovascular disease risk factor.

For example, coconut oil may be cholesterol free, but is highly saturated and more dangerous than seafood, as it causes the liver to produce more harmful cholesterol. Saturated fat also raises triglyceride levels and thickens the blood.

Seafood & Cholesterol

Seafood, on the other hand, contains cholesterol, but also the protective polyunsaturated fats that cause the liver to produce less harmful cholesterol and more protective HDL cholesterol.

That's why, rather than worry about high cholesterol foods, you should pay attention to foods high in saturated fats.

I find it that the phrase " high cholesterol foods" is somehow not correct. What you should pay attention to, is foods high in saturated fats or foods high in triglycerides, since triglycerides make up 95 percent of all the fats we eat.

Foods that Contain High Cholesterol/Saturated fats

High cholesterol foods are mainly found in all animals and animal products, for example, egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish and higher fat milk products.

In addition, beware of processed and prepared foods. Although convenient, they are very high cholesterol foods as well as high in saturated fats. Cookies, pastries, and muffins which contain sugar raise cholesterol levels.

You should limit the intake of all these high cholesterol foods. And, always pay attention to food package labels to check fat and cholesterol levels.

What Food Labels Mean?

  • "Cholesterol Free" it means less than 2 milligrams(mg) cholesterol and 2 grams or less fat;
  • "Low Cholesterol" means 20 mgs or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat;
  • "Fat Free" means less than ½ gram fat;
  • "Low Fat" means 3 grams or less fat;
  • "Reduced Fat" means at least 25 percent less fat than other brands of same food.

Generally speaking you should not consume more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.

The following table clearly spells out how much cholesterol each food and its serving portion contains. Keep this in mind when you consume these foods.
A List of High Cholesterol Foods

 high cholesterol foods

For a layperson, what the table above means is that you should consume at most a 3.5oz of liver or beef in a day and none of the other foods.

Or a boiled egg, 1oz of cream cheese and 1oz of cheddar cheese (total cholesterol is 225+27+19=271 mg).

Or only a 3.5 oz ice cream and 3.5oz of sponge cake (total cholesterol is 45+260=305 mg, an extra 5 mg per day). I trust you can calculate for yourself on any other food high in cholesterol in this table.

All the Best

Artin Vaqari

Click here to learn more about other low & high cholesterol foods.

Or click here to go back to all about lowering Cholesterol homepage.

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