Foods High In Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
The list below contains foods that are especially high in saturated fat, cholesterol, or both. This list is adapted from guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. You’ll need to limit these foods to improve your heart health:
- fatty cuts of meat, including meat drippings
- bacon, sausage, and processed meats
- duck, chicken, or turkey with skin
- egg yolks
- fat or oil that is hard or in stick form, lard, and shortening
- hydrogenated vegetable oil
- coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter
The Relationship Between Fat And Cholesterol
How are fats related to blood cholesterol? Research shows that the amount and type of dietary fat consumed can affect blood cholesterol levels. Dietary fat, especially saturated and trans fats, may raise blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol. Replacing some saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol. Recall that high total blood cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels increase risk of heart disease, while lower levels reduce risk. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol help lower the risk for heart disease.
What foods contain fat and cholesterol? In some foods, fats are obvious, like noticeably greasy, fried or oily foods, or meats with visible marbling. In other foods, such as dairy, eggs, and some meats, fat and cholesterol is harder to see. Fats are found in both plant and animal foods, but cholesterol is only found in foods of animal origin. A food can be high in fat and cholesterol , high in fat but low in cholesterol , low in fat and high in cholesterol , or low in both . The nutrition facts label is a useful tool to determine the amount of fat or cholesterol in a particular food item.
Will A Vegan Diet Lower Cholesterol
Not necessarily. You can include all of the “right” things and still see your cholesterol raise due to genetic factors. In some cases, you may still end up with no choice but to resort to a cholesterol-lowering medication check in with your doctor and have them monitor any changes you make closely to see how your body progresses.
If need be, there are plenty of drug options, from statins that lower LDL and slightly raise HDL to cholesterol absorption inhibitors, citrate lyase inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, niacin, and combination pills. There are also prescription omega-3 fatty acids, though many come from non-vegan sources like fish.
We hope you find these simple tools helpful in your mission to keep your vegan cholesterol down!
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Why Did Trans Fats Become So Popular If They Have Such Bad Health Effects
Before 1990, very little was known about how trans fat can harm your health. In the 1990s, research began identifying the adverse health effects of trans fats. Based on these findings, FDA instituted labeling regulations for trans fat and consumption has decreased in the US in recent decades, however some individuals may consume high levels of trans fats based on their food choices.
What Is Cholesterol And Why Is It Important
Cholesterol is a type of fat molecule found in the bloodstream. There are two primary sources of the cholesterol floating through the body we create most in our livers, and the rest comes from our diet, which is called dietary cholesterol.
Though we usually hear about cholesterol in the context of it being bad for us, cholesterol helps our bodies perform a number of essential functions, like cell division and vitamin and hormone synthesis.
Our livers make enough cholesterol to support our body function, so technically, scientists don’t consider it an essential nutrient we can physically survive and thrive without consuming any cholesterol at all. However, the diet would be pretty restrictive.
Some cholesterol in the blood is entirely normal. Still, when that level raises above the healthy range, it can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
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Liver Eggs And Muffins Can Be Part Of A Heart Healthy Diet If You Know What To Watch Out For
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that you shouldn’t eat fries and fried chicken on a regular basis. They’re loaded with sodium and saturated fat and a diet high in saturated fat and trans fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, putting you at risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association .
Many foods that come from animals like meat and fat-containing dairy products contain saturated fat, while baked goods and fast food pack in trans fat, too. Because LDL cholesterol levels in particular can be too high on a high-saturated-fat diet, the AHA recommends that saturated fat make up no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total calories. On a diet of 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 should come from saturated fat. Thats 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat per day at most.
Its worth noting that the thinking has changed about what increases cholesterol in the body. For example, previous dietary guidelines recommended consuming no more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day. But in 2015, those guidelines changed, and there is now no specific recommendation limiting the amount of cholesterol that should be consumed through food. Thats because research has shown dietary cholesterol itself isnt harmful and actually doesnt contribute to increased levels of cholesterol in the body. Rather, the real culprits are saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.
Making Healthy Food Choices
Saturated fats are found in all animal foods, and some plant sources.
The following foods may be high in saturated fats. Many of them are also low in nutrients and have extra calories from sugar:
- Baked goods
- Fried foods
- Fatty or processed meats
- Whole-fat dairy products
- Solid fats such as coconut oil, palm, and palm kernel oils
Here are some examples of popular food items with the saturated fat content in a typical serving:
- 12 ounces , or 340 g, steak — 20 g
- Cheeseburger — 10 g
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Opt For Skinless Chicken
Although chicken is usually considered to be a good low-fat meat choice, how you cook it and serve it makes all the difference. For example, one chicken leg with the skin still on has more fat and saturated fat than a hamburger. Remember that removing the skin will help reduce the overall fat content, King says. Indulge in a fried chicken leg once in a while and stick to the grilled or baked chicken.
If you leave the skin on poultry or bread and deep-fry it, you turn it into an unhealthy, cholesterol-spiking food. Also, remember that dark poultry meat has more fat than white meat. When making chicken choices, opt for skinless and skip the dark meat.
The Problem With Too Much Cholesterol
Dietary cholesterol comes primarily from sources of saturated fats, like meat and other animal-based products.
The double-whammy with cholesterol is that by eating a diet high in saturated fat intake, you consume more cholesterol, and these foods make your liver produce more cholesterol, too! This increased production and consumption turns into high cholesterol levels in the body pretty quickly.
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Sausage: 2701mg 90% Dv
You might want to rethink how often you eat sausages and other processed meats. A large cooked kielbasa sausage link provides 90 percent of the DV for cholesterol. Plus, it’s high in saturated fat, sodium, nitrates and other preservatives.
Processed meat intake can increase your risk of developing diabetes and coronary heart disease . In fact, CHD risk can increase 18 percent for every 50 grams per day of processed red meat you eat, according to a July 2021 study in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
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One day, foods high in cholesterol are dietary culprits the next day, they’re superfoods.
Let’s break down the reason behind the confusion. First of all, cholesterol is a waxy type of fat that is produced in your body and found in food.
Cholesterol in food, or dietary cholesterol, is in most animal products, like meat, milk, yogurt and eggs. Dietary cholesterol only makes up about 20 percent of the cholesterol in your blood, per Harvard Health Publishing.
The majority of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver, and it makes enough, so you don’t have to get cholesterol from food. Cholesterol keeps cell membranes strong and helps your body make hormones, vitamin D and bile acids, according to a July 2019 study in Nutrients.
Cholesterol is carried through the blood by lipid carriers called lipoproteins. The main lipoproteins are high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein .
HDL is often called “good cholesterol” because it helps your body get rid of cholesterol by moving it from cells to the liver. High HDL levels are linked with a lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
On the other hand, LDL is referred to as “bad cholesterol” because high levels can cause atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your arteries. This can contribute to a heart attack or stroke, per the Centers for Disease Control .
How Much Cholesterol Should You Eat?
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Tips For Adding More Healthy Fats To Your Diet
Instead of obsessively counting fat grams, aim for a diet rich in a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and beans, with two or more weekly servings of fatty fish, moderate amounts of dairy, small amounts of red meat, and only occasional fried or processed meals.
This might mean replacing fried chicken with grilled chicken, swapping out some of the red meat you eat with other sources of protein such as fish, chicken, or beans, or using olive oil rather than butter. Following a Mediterranean diet can also help ensure youre getting enough good fats in your diet and limiting the bad ones.
Limit your intake of saturated fats by replacing some of the red meat you eat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish, and switching from whole milk dairy to lower fat versions. But dont make the mistake of replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.
Eat omega-3 fats every day. Include a variety of fish sources as well as plant sources such as walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.
Cook with olive oil. Use olive oil for stovetop cooking rather than butter, stick margarine, or lard. For baking, try canola oil.
Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart- and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling meal.
Reach for the nuts. You can add nuts to vegetable dishes, use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish, or make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Fried And Processed Meats
Not all types of meat are equal, so its important to think about the preparation methods when trying to determine how many of these food items are safe to eat. For example, fried chicken wings are going to have more cholesterol than a grilled chicken breast.
In general, you should avoid processed meat products that contain nitrates and try to replace these with leaner proteins like fish.
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Why Do Some Companies Use Trans Fats
Trans fats are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers. Several countries and jurisdictions have reduced or restricted the use of trans fats in food service establishments.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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Reconsider That Cheeseburger With High Saturated Fat
Speaking of cheeseburgers, if you’re like many Americans, you occasionally eat lunch from a fast food restaurant. But before you order that double cheeseburger, consider this: A McDonalds Big Mac has 10 g of saturated fat and a Wendy’s Classic Double With Everything has a whopping 20 g of saturated fat . You might want to hold the fries and the shake, or better yet, order a plain burger instead.
How Do Monounsaturated Fats Affect My Health
Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your bodys cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.
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How Saturated Fats Affect Your Health
Saturated fats are bad for your health in several ways:
Heart disease risk. Your body needs healthy fats for energy and other functions. But too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries . Saturated fats raise your LDL cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Weight gain. Many high-fat foods such as pizza, baked goods, and fried foods have a lot of saturated fat. Eating too much fat can add extra calories to your diet and cause you to gain weight. All fats contain 9 calories per gram of fat. This is more than twice the amount found in carbohydrates and protein.
Cutting out high-fat foods can help keep your weight in check and keep your heart healthy. Staying at a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
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Mozzarella Sticks: 882 Mg 29% Dv
Sure they’re crispy on the outside and melty on the inside but like the other fried foods on this list, you’re better off choosing something else.
A restaurant order of mozzarella sticks gives you 29 percent of the DV for cholesterol and 84 percent DV for saturated fat. Plus, it contains about 1 gram of trans fats.
Chicken Breast: 1972 Mg 66% Dv
Chicken has more cholesterol than eggs. You’ll get 66 percent of the DV for cholesterol in a 6-ounce serving of cooked chicken breast, but only 9 percent of the saturated fat DV.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping saturated fat intake below 10 percent of your daily calories. Because chicken is lower in saturated fat than red meats, the AHA recommends choosing it over beef, pork and lamb.
If you’re getting bored with the usual grilled chicken, try these healthy and creative chicken recipes.
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Monitoring Intake Of Fat And Cholesterol
Dietary fat and cholesterol are necessary components for a healthy diet. Though, when consumed in excess, they may be harmful to the body and increase ones risk for obesity, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. Keep in mind, however, that dietary cholesterol does not have as much of an effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fat. It is important to regulate ones intake of dietary fat in order to regulate blood LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
What Are Trans Fats
There are two broad types of trans fats found in foods: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals may contain small quantities of these fats. Artificial trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.
The primary dietary source for trans fats in processed food is partially hydrogenated oils.” Look for them on the ingredient list on food packages. In November 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer Generally Recognized as Safe in human food.
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Why Is My Cholesterol High If I’m Vegan
There are loads of pros and cons of being a vegetarian. Manufacturers make veganism more appealing by offering more convenient options, just as you’d find in an omnivorous diet. These days, it’s even easier to be both vegan and high cholesterol with the modern food options available.
We’ve watched cholesterol issues grow as vegan convenience foods become more prevalent on the grocery store shelves. Coconut products are uber-popular right now, and some plant-based butter and cheese mean we may be overeating saturated fat.
We’ll often see a vegan with high cholesterol level numbers because high cholesterol usually isn’t caused by diet alone. Our age, family background, and genes are all huge contributing factors, too.
You can’t control your body’s age or your genes, at least not yet. And you certainly can’t control your family believe me, I’ve tried!
You can, however, combat your body’s tendency to create too much cholesterol by eating the right foods.