If you have high cholesterol, or are concerned about getting it, then you may be wondering what foods you should be avoiding. Here is a look at high cholesterol foods and what they mean to you.
Of course, many of the foods that are high in fat are also high in cholesterol. This includes a lot of the greasy and fatty foods that many people are fond of picking up from their favorite fast food joint. Many greasy and heavy foods not only contain high cholesterol levels, but also have a high amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat, the type of fat that is found in many animal products, will raise the level of your LDL (or bad) cholesterol. If you eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, your own cholesterol levels are also going to go up.
At the same time, however, you should not that it is not the cholesterol alone in foods that is the problem. The more important thing to look at is the amount of saturated fat that is in the food you eat. Saturated fat is responsible for causing your liver to make more LDL cholesterol and triglycerides as it attempts to digest it.
For this reason, just because a food is labeled “cholesterol free” does not mean that it is going to make a difference in your own personal cholesterol levels. If the product is still high in saturated fat, your body will continue to make cholesterol.
One example of a food that would fall under this category is coconut oil. Coconut oil is a vegetable oil, so there is no cholesterol in it, and therefore could be labeled in theory as being “low cholesterol” or “cholesterol free.” Unfortunately for the uniformed consumer, the amount of saturated fat in coconut oil is so high that it can definitely cause a problem for your cholesterol levels. So in reality, a food that is considered “high cholesterol” does not necessarily mean that it has a high level of cholesterol. Instead, it may only contain substances that raise the amount of LDL cholesterol that you have in your blood – such as triglycerides or saturated fats.
In order to make shopping easier for you and allow you to watch your cholesterol at the same time, it is helpful to understand the differences in label. A food that is labeled “reduced fat” has 25% less fat in it than the similar food with a “normal” label. A food that is “fat free” may still contain fat, but has less than half of a milligram of fat per serving. Foods that are “low fat” contain less than 3 grams of fat per serving. “Low cholesterol” foods have 20 milligrams or less of cholesterol as well as 2 grams or less of saturated fat. “Cholesterol free” foods do not contain cholesterol – however, you still have to watch for saturated fat content on the label. In general, these foods will have less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 milligrams or less of fat.
If you are looking for particular foods to avoid, watch out for any animal products. Many processed foods, like cookies and pastries, will also have high levels of saturated fats.