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High Cholesterol Foods

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Cholesterol is essential for the normal function of the body. Nonetheless, when its level in the blood rises beyond the normal cholesterol range it causes health complications which include heart diseases. One of the causes of rise in serum cholesterol is consumption of a diet containing high cholesterol foods. Therefore, avoiding or minimizing the intake of high cholesterol foods is one way to maintain normal serum cholesterol level. It should be noted however the same food stuffs are also good sources of essential nutrients such protein, fatty acids, macro- and micro-nutrients, and carbohydrates.



What are High Cholesterol Foods?

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.


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.


High Cholesterol Foods - Trans-Fats

Below is a list of those foods which contribute most to the current high consumption of trans fatty acids in the typical American diet. Dietitians and cardiologists now consider trans-fats to be a greater risk factor for high blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol.


Food Types
Percentage of Total Consumption of Trans Fat in American Diet
Cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, bread40 percent
Animal products21 percent
Margarine17 percent
Fried potatoes8 percent
Potato chips, corn chips, popcorn5 percent
Household shortening4 percent
Breakfast cereal, candy5 percent


High Cholesterol Foods - Saturated Fat

Below is a list of those foods which contribute most to the current high consumption of saturated fat in the average American diet. High intakes of saturated fat are closely linked to high serum cholesterol levels, which is a major risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.


Food Types
Percentage of Total Consumption of Saturated Fat in American Diet
Cheese13.1 percent
Beef11.7 percent
Milk7.8 percent
Oils4.9 percent
Ice cream/sherbet/frozen yogurt4.7 percent
Cakes/cookies/quick breads/donuts4.7 percent
Butter4.6 percent
Shortening and Animal Fats4.4 percent
Salad dressings/mayonnaise3.7 percent
Poultry3.6 percent
Margarine3.2 percent
Sausages3.1 percent
Potato chips/corn chips/popcorn2.9 percent
Yeast bread2.6 percent
Eggs2.3 percent


High Cholesterol Foods - Maximum Daily Intake of Saturated Fat

To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and general good health, the table below shows the maximum amount of saturated fat that can be eaten, per day, in order to maintain saturated fat consumption below 10 percent of total calorie intake, according to differing food energy intakes.


Energy Intake
Maximum Daily Intake of Saturated Fat (grams)
To keep saturates below 10 percent of calories
1200-Calorie Diet13g
1600-Calorie Diet18g
2000-Calorie Diet20g
2500-Calorie Diet25g
3000-Calorie Diet33g