Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the blood. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to heart disease. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats are worst for cholesterol. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, and red meat. Trans fats are found in processed foods such as cookies, crackers, and cakes.
Full-fat dairy. Whole milk, butter and full-fat yogurt and cheese are high in saturated fat
Dairy products are a major source of saturated fat in the American diet. Just one cup of whole milk contains about 5 grams of saturated fat, and one ounce of cheddar cheese contains about 6 grams. Saturated fat raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and contributes to plaque buildup in your arteries.
Whole milk, butter, and full-fat yogurt and cheese are especially high in saturated fat. You may think that switching to low-fat or nonfat versions of these foods will help lower your cholesterol, but that’s not always the case. Some low-fat cheeses have just as much saturated fat as their full-fat counterparts. And while nonfat or skim milk has less saturated fat than whole milk, it also has less heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, you’re better off avoiding all dairy products or choosing those made with skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk. You can also look for yogurts and cheeses that are labeled “low-saturated fat” or “reduced-saturation.”
Red meat. Steak, beef roast, ribs, pork chops and ground beef tend to have high saturated fat and cholesterol content
Saturated fat and cholesterol are found in many animal-based foods, including red meat.
When about red meat, the saturated fat and cholesterol content can vary significantly depending on the type of meat. For example, a lean cut of steak will have less saturated fat and cholesterol than a fatty pork chop. Ground beef generally has more saturated fat than steak, but the amount can vary depending on the percentage of fat used in the ground beef mix.
If you’re trying to limit your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, lean cuts of red meat are the best option. When choosing ground beef, look for brands that use a lower percentage of fat in their mixes. And when cooking any type of red meat, trimming away any visible pieces of fat before cooking can help reduce the overall saturated fat content.
Fried foods are some of the worst foods for cholesterol. They are high in unhealthy fats and calories, which can raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and make it harder for your body to break down LDL cholesterol. Eating fried foods often can also lead to weight gain, which can further increase your LDL cholesterol levels.
Baked goods and sweets
Eating too many baked goods and sweets can also lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, it’s important to limit your intake of these foods. Instead, focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.
Eggs are one of the worst foods for cholesterol. They are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Eggs are also a major source of dietary cholesterol, with one large egg containing about 213 mg of cholesterol. That’s more than half the daily recommended limit for people with heart disease. If you have heart disease or high LDL cholesterol, you should limit eggs to no more than two per week and use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of whole eggs.
While shellfish can be a healthy part of your diet, it’s important to limit your intake. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than two servings of seafood per week. When choosing shellfish, opt for leaner options like shrimp or squid. Avoid fried or breaded shellfish, as these are higher in fat and calories.
If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, speak with your doctor before adding shellfish to your diet. They may recommend limiting your intake or avoiding it altogether.
While lean meats may not be the best choice for those watching their cholesterol levels, they can still be a part of a healthy diet. When choosing lean meats, look for cuts that have the least amount of visible fat. Trim any visible fat before cooking and avoid using higher-fat cooking methods such as frying.