High cholesterol is something no one wants to hear after their checkup, yet it is a major problem in the United States. While a sufficient quantity of cholesterol is required in the body for cell synthesis, having too much can result in blood clots in your arteries, which might lead to a stroke or heart disease.
What causes high cholesterol levels, and how can we reduce it? Smoking, being overweight, a lack of activity, and an unhealthy diet are all factors that can cause a rise in cholesterol levels.
We interviewed a few professional dietitians to learn more about how a poor diet can increase cholesterol levels.
1 — Eating too much red meat
A diet that is high in red meat has been linked to an increased risk of high cholesterol. This is due, in part, to its saturated fat content.
“Obesity and Heart disease are the most common ailments linked to a diet high in red meat,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD. “The meat’s higher saturated fat content causes cholesterol and artery blockages as well as triglycerides to rise. Reducing or eliminating saturated fat from your diet is one simple change that can improve your heart health.”
2 — Yo-yo dieting
Many people are unaware that crash dieting, or any other extreme dieting, can have detrimental effects on their health and cholesterol levels.
Weight cycling, according to Rachel Fine, RDN and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition, is “one lesser-known habit that has been linked to cholesterol. Specifically, weight cycling has been connected to lower HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol) and increased LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol). It’s worth noting that any extreme methods for losing weight may be more harmful to your health than staying at a larger size (and maybe) more comfortable for one’s body. What could we do instead of this? Combat weight stigma and encourage healthy eating,” says Rachel Fine, RDN.
3 — Eating fried foods
Fried foods are popular and often one of the more convenient meals available. However, it may be harming your cholesterol levels.
“It’s critical to avoid fried foods. High-cholesterol meals that should be avoided whenever feasible, especially due to the hydrogenated oil that is used for frying them has harmful fats that tend to boost (LDL) cholesterol in the body,” states Beth Hawkes, registered dietitian.