18 Foods You Shouldn’t Eat if You Have High Cholesterol

It can be challenging to know what lifestyle changes to make when you have high cholesterol. But if one thing’s for sure, it’s that there are certain types of food that you should avoid at all costs. Here are 18 foods you generally shouldn’t eat if you have high cholesterol.

Red Meat

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It’s a well-known fact that red meat is high in saturated fat, which can raise “bad” cholesterol levels. Therefore, as stated by Harvard Health, it’s best to avoid as many forms of red meat as possible, including pork, lamb, beef, very fatty cuts of meat, and highly processed meats.


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Butter is another food high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels over time. While this may seem like a hard food to avoid, as it is used in many different recipes, you can easily switch it out for healthier alternatives such as olive oil, avocado oil, or healthier forms of margarine.

Fried Foods

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Fried foods are often high in trans fat, which raises LDL cholesterol levels. As such, those with high cholesterol should avoid foods such as French fries, doughnuts, and fried chicken. Healthier forms of cooking include baking, steaming, or grilling.

Full-Fat Dairy Products

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Full-fat dairy products naturally have much higher levels of saturated fat than their healthier counterparts. Because of this, it’s best to skip out on full-fat milk, cream, or cheese. Lower-fat options of the same foods make a healthier alternative and can still taste amazing.

Processed Meats

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Like red meat, forms of processed meat, such as hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats, usually contain higher amounts of saturated fat and sodium. Frequently consuming these products can raise your bad cholesterol levels, so it’s best to cut them out of your diet if you already have high cholesterol.

Commercially Baked Goods

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Commercially baked goods are delicious and convenient, but sadly, being healthy is not one of their strong suits. These products are commonly made with trans fats and can be high in saturated fat, making them a poor choice for anyone with high cholesterol levels.

Fast Food

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Fast food can be cheap and convenient, but it’s also loaded with saturated fat, calories, and trans fat. All of these components are a recipe for disaster for anyone with high cholesterol, so it’s recommended to cut your intake as much as possible.

Egg Yolks

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Eggs are good to eat as part of a balanced, nutritious diet. However, if you’re frequently consuming foods made with just the yolk, you could be putting your health at risk. Egg yolks are especially high in cholesterol, so it’s important to be mindful of your intake.

Coconut Oil

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According to the British Heart Foundation, coconut oil is about 86% saturated fat, which is much higher than most foods. As such, those struggling with high cholesterol may wish to consider cutting back on how much they’re consuming.


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Not all margarine is created equal. While some can be healthy, others contain high amounts of trans fats, which increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. Because of this, it’s important to make sure you’re consuming the healthiest kinds of margarine for your health.

Palm Oil

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According to WebMD, palm oil is made up of about 49% saturated fat, which can promote high cholesterol levels and decrease overall well-being. This is why experts often recommend that people with high cholesterol opt for healthier forms of oil and fat.

Sugary Beverages

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Sugar does not directly impact cholesterol levels, but consuming high amounts of sugary beverages can cause weight gain and increase triglyceride levels, which can negatively impact your cholesterol and heart health in the long run. Therefore, it’s best to swap them out for healthier alternatives such as water, unsweetened tea, or low-sugar energy drinks.


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Like sugary drinks, excessive alcohol consumption can increase your triglyceride levels and negatively impact your heart health over time. Because of this, it’s important to consume alcohol in moderation or abstain altogether.

High-Sodium Snacks

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Foods high in sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and hypertension, which increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As such, it’s recommended to cut back on salty snacks such as chips, pretzels, salted nuts, and processed meats.

Sugary Cereals

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As stated previously, sugar can increase your triglyceride levels and cause you to gain weight, which puts you at a greater risk of heart disease. Therefore, it’s best to avoid sugary cereals and go for healthier, low-sugar alternatives.

Ice Cream

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We all know ice cream is delicious, but sadly, that sweet taste does come at a bitter price. Ice cream is high in sugar and saturated fat, contributing to increased bad cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart disease. People struggling with high cholesterol are therefore better off opting for low-sugar alternatives.

Full-Fat Salad Dressings

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Salads are clearly one of the healthiest diet options you can go for when looking to improve your health. However, you need to be cautious when it comes to your toppings. Many salad dressings are very high in saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol levels.

Cream-Based Soups

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Soup is another sneaky one you need to watch out for. While soups high in vegetables and other healthy ingredients are usually fine, cream-based soups often contain high amounts of saturated fat, which can exacerbate your issues with cholesterol.

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