High Cholesterol Foods: What To Avoid?

Beware of not only high cholesterol foods but more importantly, the bad fats.
Read more below to understand fats & cholesterol found in foods & how they ultimately affect your cholesterol.

The better the taste of the food, the higher the chance that they’re high cholesterol foods. It is one of the ironies of life and one of the tragedies of life as well – the better it tastes, the more cholesterol it seems to contain.

To start with, understand that 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.

Saturate Fats = High Cholesterol Foods

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.

If you stop them completely you don’t miss anything (except the taste – and actually this is really a lot to miss), since your body makes all the cholesterol you need. As such, it is not necessary to take in any additional cholesterol from the foods you eat.

Cholesterol “Free” Foods

You must be aware of “cholesterol-free” foods because cholesterol coming from foods (or dietary cholesterol) is hardly as harmful as the number of saturated fats in your food.

You can call them foods that cause high cholesterol, or high cholesterol foods, but in reality, it is not the cholesterol content that makes them harmful. It is the fat, or better the saturated fats (which come mainly from meats, nuts, and dairy foods), which causes the liver to produce more harmful cholesterol.

Your Liver & Cholesterol Foods

The liver produces 4 times the amount of cholesterol in our diets. This makes saturated fat much more harmful than dietary cholesterol and renders dietary cholesterol quite a negligible factor for your high cholesterol levels, or cardiovascular disease risk factor.

For example, coconut oil may be cholesterol-free, but is highly saturated and more dangerous than seafood, as it causes the liver to produce more harmful cholesterol. Saturated fat also raises triglyceride levels and thickens the blood.

Seafood & Cholesterol

Seafood, on the other hand, contains cholesterol, but also the protective polyunsaturated fats that cause the liver to produce less harmful cholesterol and more protective HDL cholesterol.

That’s why, rather than worry about high cholesterol foods, you should pay attention to foods high in saturated fats.

I find that the phrase ” high cholesterol foods” is somehow not correct. What you should pay attention to, are foods high in saturated fats or foods high in triglycerides, since triglycerides make up 95 percent of all the fats we eat.

Foods that Contain High Cholesterol/Saturated fats

High cholesterol foods are mainly found in all animals and animal products, for example, egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, and higher fat milk products.

In addition, beware of processed and prepared foods. Although convenient, they are very high cholesterol foods as well as high in saturated fats. Cookies, pastries, and muffins which contain sugar raise cholesterol levels.

You should limit the intake of all these high cholesterol foods. And, always pay attention to food package labels to check fat and cholesterol levels.

What do Food Labels Mean?

“Cholesterol Free” means less than 2 milligrams(mg) of cholesterol and 2 grams or less fat;
“Low Cholesterol” means 20 mgs or less cholesterol and 2 grams or less saturated fat;
“Fat-Free” means less than ½ gram of fat;
“Low Fat” means 3 grams or less fat;
“Reduced Fat” means at least 25 percent less fat than other brands of the same food.

Generally speaking, you should not consume more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.

The following table clearly spells out how much cholesterol each food and its serving portion contains. Keep this in mind when you consume these foods.

List of High Cholesterol Foods

FoodServing SizeCholesterol Level
Boiled Egg1225 mg
Cream Cheese1oz27 mg
Cheddar Cheese1oz19 mg
Butter3.5oz250 mg
Lamb3.5oz70 mg
Beef Steak3.5oz70 mg
Chicken3.5oz60 mg
Kidney, Beef3.5oz375 mg
Liver, Beef3.5oz300 mg
Ice Cream3.5oz45 mg
Sponge Cake3.5oz260 mg

For a layperson, what the table above means is that you should consume at most a 3.5oz of liver or beef in a day and none of the other foods.

Or a boiled egg, 1oz of cream cheese, and 1oz of cheddar cheese (total cholesterol is 225+27+19=271 mg).

Or only a 3.5 oz ice cream and 3.5oz of sponge cake (total cholesterol is 45+260=305 mg, an extra 5 mg per day). I trust you can calculate for yourself any other food high in cholesterol in this table.