Factors That Increase Cholesterol

Having a high blood cholesterol level, high LDL, or low HDL are the risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease. There are five dietary factors that contribute to the increase in the cholesterol levels in your blood, they also increase your LDL level, and can also lower your HDL level.

These factors being,

  • Trans fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Excess calories
  • Dietary cholesterol
  • Total fat

Consuming too much of dietary cholesterol, total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat can be the cause of raise of cholesterol levels in the blood, and also increases the risk of severe heart diseases. Hence, it is very essential to have knowledge about the foods that contain these life threatening factors, and how the diet can be customized to decrease the risk of heart and other severe diseases.

Trans Fat

Foods that are high in trans fat content also contribute to the raise in blood cholesterol levels. “Trans” is also refers to the chemical structure of certain unsaturated fats when they have had hydrogen added to them to make them firm. Look out for foods that come with the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” in the list of ingredients. The presence of these factors are likely to be high in trans fat.

Watch out for - Baked goods, snacks, fried food stuff, margarines, and shortenings often contain trans fats. Checking on the Nutrition Facts label to find out if a food contains trans fat or look for partially hydrogenated fat in the contents list.

Tips to reduce the intake of Trans Fat

  • Check for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than foods prepared with hydrogenated oil or saturated fat.
  • In the case that it doesn’t say “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” it is safe to assume that it is unhydrogenated fat and can be consumed.
  • Margarine can be used as a substitute for butter. Choosing soft (liquid or tub) margarines over harder, stick forms is promoted. Use margarine and other products that come with liquid vegetable oil as the primary ingredient and contains not more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label for trans fat information on the and choose products that say - no trans fat added.


Saturated Fat

Foods high in saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in blood more than the foods that are high in dietary cholesterol. The term “Saturated” is referred to the chemical structure of certain fats. Saturated fats are usually firm, they hold their shapes at room temperature. The significant sources of saturated fat in a typical American diet are:

  • Food products from animals that contain saturated fats include beef, beef fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheeses, and other dairy products made from whole milk.
  • Foods from plants also contain saturated fats. These foods include coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), and cocoa butter.

Tips to reduce saturated fat intake

There are many ways to reduce, and control the intake of saturated fats. To do so you will have to

  • Choose leaner cuts of meat.
  • Try skinless chicken, fish, and lean ground beef.
  • Use whole cuts of meat rather than ground pork or beef.
  • Choose top loin, sirloin, round or flank steak to eat.
  • Trim the fat from the meat before cooking and drain fat from meat once it is cooked.
  • Reduce the intake of high-fat dairy products. These are a high source of saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Try consuming low fat frozen yogurt or sherbet instead of ice cream.
  • You have to remember to take these carbohydrates into consideration when planning your daily meals.
  • Use oils in cooking and baking instead of butter or lard. Olive and canola oils are high in monounsaturated fat content.


Total Fat

The total amount of dietary fat consumed by a person has a large impact on the level of cholesterol in the blood. Since many foods contain fat, the best way to find out the total quantity of total fat you eat each day is to check the Nutrition Facts labels on the package of the foods you consume. Consuming a diet that is low in fat can lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and can help in keeping the levels within a normal range.

Note: On an average only 20 – 35% of your daily calories should come from fat.

Tips To Reduce Total Fat Intake

  • Reduce the use of fat in every recipe you make by half, without changing flavor or texture of the food.
  • Although certain recipes may require fat, reducing the input of fat by 1/2 the fat quantity in a recipe will not alter the product taste or texture.
  • Reduce the amount of sauces, dressings, and gravies that you include in your meals.
  • Resort to low-fat or non-fat substitutions in recipes.
  • Replace 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt.
  • Switch to ground turkey breast, ground chicken breast, or tofu instead of ground beef.
  • Increase the use of herbs and spices to enhance flavor, rather than added fat.
  • Try using fat-free cooking spray for baking – instead of butter or oil.
  • Cut down on the amount of high-fat items in a recipe, such as nuts, cheese, and chocolate.

The chart aside will help you understand the amounts of total fat and saturated fats that the American Heart Association recommends you eat depending on your calorie level.

Consuming Excess Calories

Consuming high amounts of calories leads to weight gain. This in turn can raise your LDL cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and also increase your blood glucose levels. The increase in the levels of these factors in the blood is not good for your health. It can lead to several other health issues.


Dietary Cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol is different from blood cholesterol.

What is dietary Cholesterol?

Dietary cholesterol is a kind of cholesterol that is obtained from the food we consume. In particular, foods from animal sources contain dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol has a mild effect on your total blood cholesterol level. A person's total fat intake, specifically saturated fat, has a stronger effect on blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. None the less, a person should maintain low-to-moderate intakes of dietary cholesterol. The advised intake of dietary cholesterol should be less than 300 mg for those without high blood cholesterol and 200 mg for those suffering with high blood cholesterol levels.

Reducing Dietary Cholesterol Intake requires you to limit the intake of egg yolks, liver and other organ meats, meat, and whole milk dairy products.

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