Less than a month away from the release of my new Cholesterol Lowering Cookbook For Two, the promotional and educational push continues on the connection between blood cholesterol levels, food and overall health continues.
My content thus far has covered the following key topic areas:
- The prevalence & statistics around high blood cholesterol and why it’s such a public health concern
- The controversy around egg yolk consumption, heart health and blood cholesterol
- The connection between soy intake and cholesterol levels
- The four specific food groups that have been shown to lower cholesterol and an explanation of how they do it
Within this content, a common theme emerges.
There are foods that one should eat more often to keep blood cholesterol down, and foods that one should eat less often for that same purpose.
In today’s article, I’m going to focus on the 10 foods that the US Food & Drug Administration ( FDA) statistics identify as the most likely to contribute to elevated “bad” or LDL cholesterol levels via their saturated fat content.
Despite transient suggestions to the contrary, my evaluation of the current scientific consensus continues to support the notion that replacing dietary saturated fat has a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels.
Before proceeding to the list it’s important to understand that it measures the total saturated fat contribution to the diet on the population level from any given food, not the food that is necessarily highest in saturated fat.
Inevitably, many of the foods in the list will be both moderate to high in saturated fat and also likely consumed with great regularity.
Let’s take a look at what they are and what you can do reduce the impact they have on your cholesterol levels, listed in order of saturated fat contribution from highest to lowest.
Top 10 Cholesterol Raising Foods
1. Cheese – Go for lower %MF varieties whenever possible.
2. Dairy-based Desserts ( ie: ice cream, cheese cake etc)- Try plant-based ice cream alternatives at the supermarket, or make your own.
3.Pizza – Focus on vegetables and fish/lean poultry based toppings ( anchovies, chicken breast). Home made with lower %MF cheese works too.
4. Chicken & Mixed Chicken Dishes- Fried chicken, chicken with the skin (wings) and dark meat are likely the highest sources of saturated fat when it comes to chicken products.
5. Grain-based Desserts (ie: flour-based cakes, cookies, brownies) – Opting for heart healthier homemade varieties rather then store bought ( my book will help with that!)
6. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs – No easy way out here, these types of high fat and/or processed meats are problematic on a number of levels.
7. Milk – Milk is frequently consumed and all but 0% has the potential to contribute saturated fat to the diet. I’m not anti-dairy, but I am pro plant-based swaps especially ones that are easy and painless to make.
8. Burgers – Enter the beyond meat burger. Also, salmon burgers are absolutely great for those who haven’t tried.
9. Mexican Mixed Dishes- Likely end up on this list in part due to their cheese + red meat content. Ever tried a tofu taco?
10. Pasta & Pasta Dishes – Don’t worry, my new cookbook has a low saturated fat spaghetti recipe.
Honourable Mentions ( if we extended it to top 15) – beef, eggs ( tofu scramble), butter and chips.
Let’s make a few things clear now that this list is out there.
First of all, no one is saying you can’t eat these foods.
In fact, my new cholesterol lowering cook book utilizes a number of foods in these categories because they are both popular and delicious.
I would not have you live without them.
Rather, I’m making the gentle suggestions to be mindful of your intake frequency and be open to alternative foods in each category.
I provided some suggestions in each category to help with that.
Want To Eat Well But Still Lower Your Cholesterol? My New Book Will help
With 100 delicious recipes across all sorts of delicious categories, my new book will not only teach you the science behind lowering your cholesterol with food, but more importantly it will bring that guidance to life in your kitchen.
So if you’re ready to improve the quality of your diet and reduce your cholesterol levels, I’m here to help.
Pre-order today – book ships on March 17th.