Avoid These 9 Foods with High Cholesterol

4 minute read

By Andrew Silver

Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in your blood for proper functioning. However, too much of this necessary fat can have a negative impact on your health. Start a search today to learn which foods have the highest cholesterol.

Most of the worst offenders on this list of foods with high cholesterol won’t shock you. However, these delicious ingredients are so commonplace in our society, it’s important to remember just how dangerous they can be when overindulged.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates across your bloodstream. While your liver naturally produces adequate amounts of cholesterol, it is also found in animal-based foods. Normal cholesterol levels are integral for the proper functioning of cell membranes and absorption of substances that are vital to your health, including Vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile acids.

On average, healthy cholesterol levels lie anywhere below 200mg/dL in adults above 20 and below 170mg/dL in teens under 19. Levels above these limits are considered borderline, but any number beyond 200mg/dL is high.

Foods like eggs, shellfish, sardines, cheese, and yogurt are considered healthy sources of cholesterol. This is because they provide adequate cholesterol along with other essential nutrients your body needs. However, many food groups have dangerously high levels of cholesterol.

1. Deep Fried Food

Deep fried foods is one of the worst food groups on earth. Loaded with high cholesterol and trans fats, deep fried anything – but especially meat and dairy – are incredibly high in calories.

Not only does it raise your cholesterol and add up those extra pounds on your scale, but deep fried foods are also associated with severe risks of heart disease and other adverse health effects. For instance, a 2015 study published in the Journal of American Heart Association revealed that eating deep fried foods carries a high risk for heart failure.

2. Fast Food

Another go-to meal option is fast food. In fact, the CDC estimates around 36.6 percent of adult Americans eat fast food. That is a huge figure owing to the health risks of fast food.

Several studies have revealed that fast food messes up our metabolism, exposing us to a high risk of heart diseases and obesity. Other health outcomes of eating too much fast food are higher rates of inflammation, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

3. Sausages

Next in order is America’s favorite breakfast meal that is well known for having empty calories. According to the USDA, a medium-sized sausage contains up to 19.6g of fat. While no processed meat is considered healthy, sausages are super high in cholesterol, salt, and cancer-causing nitrates. Moreover, overeating processed food — such as sausages — increase your risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

4. Bacon

Bacon is another highly popular processed food associated with serious health risks. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology states that the consumption of processed meat — even at the recommended levels — is associated with colon cancer.

5. Poultry with Skin

While red meat is known for its high cholesterol content, poultry with skin isn’t necessarily healthy either. In fact, chicken wings with skin have 16 percent more fat than skinless, white meat. What’s worse, deep fried poultry with skin is excessively high in cholesterol. So much that a single deep-fried chicken leg with skin carries more fat than a hamburger.

6. Organ Meats

Organ meats are delicious and highly nutritious. They are rich sources of protein, B vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, folate, and minerals. However, they are extremely high in cholesterol, contributing to up to 50 percent of your body’s cholesterol dietary limit.

The best way to eat organ meats is to watch your portions. If you already suffer from high cholesterol, you should avoid eating organ meats altogether.

7. Butter

Unless your cholesterol levels are already balanced, you should avoid butter as it increases both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol in your body. That means not just avoiding butter on toast, but also foods that are cooked and baked in butter.

If you can’t avoid fats altogether, try substituting butter with olive oil. In fact, extra virgin olive oil consumption is proven to protect overall health, including your heart health.

8. Baked Goods

Although beloved baked goodies like muffins, cookies, and cupcakes are a treat for the palate, they are loaded with artery-clogging trans fats, sugars, and refined flour — none of which have nutritional value. While you might think having a few on the go won’t do any harm, baked goods significantly increase your cholesterol levels and are associated with cardiovascular risk.

9. Desserts and Sweet Beverages

Although we’ve almost exclusively talked about animal-based foods with a high risk of increasing your cholesterol, do you know sugar is as bad as saturated fats and cholesterol? Scientists have discovered that sugar and sugary drinks can dramatically increase cholesterol in your blood. For example, a 2010 study published in the JAMA Network reported that increased food intake with added sugars significantly lowers good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Make Changes Today

Your liver produces adequate cholesterol needed for your body. When you consume healthy sources of cholesterol in moderate amounts, your liver adjusts accordingly. Unfortunately, unhealthy food choices mess up this balance by elevating bad cholesterol levels in your blood while lowering good cholesterol.

If you’re already suffering from high cholesterol, avoid foods that increase cholesterol levels in your body. Instead, add healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber to your diet and improve your physical activity.

Andrew Silver