Some foods look like they will raise cholesterol. But others don’t. That’s where the danger comes in.
There’s little question that a greasy slab of meat-lovers pizza can likely boost cholesterol. Same with a burger and fries from your favorite diner.
But not all foods that can increase cholesterol are so clearly defined. Many of them may be sneaking into your diet regularly to increase the chance of atherosclerosis and potentially increase the risk of a heart attack.
Here are some sneaky foods that might contribute to high cholesterol.
Added Sugars: Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup—a sweetener added to soft drinks, candies, and more—may boost “bad” LDL cholesterol while potentially decreasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
Foods don’t necessarily have to be packed with saturated or trans-fats to influence cholesterol levels negatively. So, watch out if you’re snacking on candies this Halloween!
Coconut Oil: Palm oil and palm kernel oil, along with butter, are regularly identified as contributors to high cholesterol. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is often categorized as a health food. But guess what? Coconut oil is one most dense sources of saturated fat you can eat.
Use it sparingly and instead opt for oils that might help fight high cholesterol and inflammation. Olive oil, for example, may help boost HDL and lower LDL.
Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are healthy, mainly if you include the fiber-rich skin. The potato itself, in fact, is not the problem. The trouble for cholesterol comes from what is added to it, which is a particular issue if it has come from a restaurant.
Restaurant mashed potatoes can be loaded with butter, cream, cream cheese, or sour cream, potentially turning it onto a “saturated fat bomb.”
An alternative is to order a baked potato topped with veggies or salsa. If making at home, you can use low-fat milk or Greek yogurt to reduce saturated fat.
Keeping an eye on saturated fat intake is one of the best ways to handle high cholesterol. Pay attention to where it could be hiding and make adjustments when needed.