What Foods Are Bad for Cholesterol?


Quick Answer

Saturated fats, trans fats, fatty meats, egg yolks and many dairy products can all raise cholesterol. Fast foods and pastries contribute to increases in cholesterol levels. Fried foods and high-fat salad dressings should also be avoided.

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Full Answer

Saturated fats and oils that contribute to high cholesterol levels include butter, bacon drippings and coconut oil. Vegetable oils, such as olive oil, should be utilized instead. Reducing the amount of meat eaten or switching to lean and skinless meat can also positively affect cholesterol levels. Processed meats, such as bologna or salami, should be avoided. Regardless of what kind, no more than 5 ounces of meat should be eaten per day.

Margarine is commonly suggested as a butter substitute because it is low in saturated fats. However, hard margarine contains a high amount of trans fats, so only liquid or soft margarine should be consumed.

Although low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, is naturally produced by the body, it is heavily influenced by diet. To prevent too many negative impacts, saturated fats should make up a maximum of 5 to 6 percent of total calories per day. Instead, people should focus on obtaining 25 to 35 percent of fats from healthy sources, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils. If possible, trans fats should be eliminated entirely or kept under 1 percent of one's daily caloric intake.

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