Foods to Avoid if You Have High Cholesterol Levels

Trying to rein in high levels of “lousy” LDL cholesterol? Look beyond cholesterol-rich foods; the cholesterol in food is different than the cholesterol in your bloodstream. The fact is, it’s the saturated fat you eat that is the raw material your body uses to produce the heart-threatening stuff. Experts estimate that for every 2% decrease in calories you get from saturated fat—about what you’d achieve if you had baby carrots instead of an ounce of regular potato chips or drank two cups of skim milk instead of two cups of 1% (low fat) milk—you can reduce your LDLs by one point. That’s great news, because every 1-point drop in this dangerous blood fat reduces your odds for a heart attack by 2%.

  • Keeping your saturated fat intake below 7% of total calories can reduce your LDLs by a respectable 9-11%.
  • Choosing lean ground meat, lower-fat cuts of red meat such as top sirloin and skinless chicken helps keep saturated fat intake lower.
  • Look for hidden trans fats. These LDL-raising fats are lurking in processed foods that have the word “hydrogenated fat” in the ingredients list.
  • Seven eggs per week won’t raise most people’s LDL levels. If your LDLs are high, ask your doctor if you should eat fewer eggs or skip the cholesterol-rich yolks.
  • Go easy on refined sugars, white bread, and alcohol. These raise triglycerides, a blood fat that can increase LDL levels.
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