4 Foods that Raise Cholesterol

It's important to limit the presence of foods that raise cholesterol in the diet, as they can affect health. Keep reading to learn more.
4 Foods that Raise Cholesterol
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 02 June, 2023

Keeping the lipid profile under control has been one of the dietary goals in recent years. However, today this has changed. Other parameters are prioritized more in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. Even so, we’re going to tell you about the foods that raise cholesterol so that you have some care with them.

The first thing to keep in mind is that one of the pillars of a healthy diet is variety. It’s useless to propose a very restrictive diet, as in the medium term, it won’t produce adherence, and anxiety will begin. On the other hand, the risk of suffering a deficit in essential micronutrients is increased, which would negatively condition the functioning of the body.

Foods that raise cholesterol

Next, we’re going to show you which are the foods that raise cholesterol in the body. Some of them are considered unhealthy, not because of their effect on the lipid profile but because they contain additives and certain harmful substances inside.


Sausage is a food made from meat scraps that aren’t always of good quality. It contains proteins of high biological value, but also a significant amount of trans-fatty acids. These have been shown to be harmful to health and to the lipid profile, as they increase circulating levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

At the same time, sausage is usually prepared by adding a series of additives–preservatives–that increase its shelf life. Nitrites stand out among all of them due to their dangerousness. There’s evidence that they could negatively affect health, increasing the risk of suffering from certain types of cancer associated with the digestive tract.

Therefore, it’s always best to prioritize fresh foods in the diet. These don’t usually contain additives, which limits a good part of the possible harmful effects. There’s no problem in including red meat in your diet, but these mustn’t be processed, and ensuring a correct cooking method is fundamental. It’s best to prepare them grilled, baked, or cooked.

French fries

Among the foods that raise cholesterol are French fries
The quintessential companions of any type of junk food contain many harmful lipids inside, mainly due to the frying process.

French fries are foods that also provide trans fatty acids. Therefore, they have a negative impact on the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. However, the problem isn’t in the tubers themselves, but in the frying process they undergo. Their energy value will also be increased, which can condition weight gains in the medium term.

It should be noted that tubers are one of the best foods with a high carbohydrate content that can be included in the dietary guideline. They provide long-chain sugars and fiber, an essential element to ensure good intestinal health. This compound adheres to the fecal bolus, increasing its volume, which allows better management of constipation. This is evidenced by research published in Nature Reviews.

Also, potatoes are a source of vitamin C. This element contributes to improving immune function, reducing the incidence of infectious respiratory diseases. It can also help improve their management, reducing the severity and duration of symptoms. Therefore, it’s essential that the levels of the nutrient in the body are optimal.


Pastries are one of the greatest exponents of processed foods. They contain trans fats, additives, and a large amount of added sugars. According to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology , these latter ingredients pose a risk to liver and pancreatic health. For this reason, experts recommend reducing their presence in the diet.

It’s common for bakery products to incorporate partially or totally hydrogenated low-quality fats. These improve the texture of the final result while increasing the shelf life of the foods. They’ll last longer and won’t go rancid, thus achieving better preservation.

However, the effects of these foods on the body are negative. They manage to increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels, also increasing the oxidation rate of lipoproteins. This is of particular concern, as oxidized cholesterol has proven to be the most dangerous in the medium term. It could be responsible, along with inflammatory processes, for atherosclerosis.

Alcoholic drinks

Alcohol as such may not have a very decisive influence on the total cholesterol level, but it increases the rate of oxidation of lipoproteins, which is considered much more harmful. It’s a toxic substance regardless of the dose consumed, so it’s best to limit or restrict its presence in the diet.

The effects are even worse when combined with sugary sodas. Simple carbohydrates in large quantities also influence the lipid profile and levels of inflammation in the body, increasing cardiovascular risk. In addition, they generate stress at the pancreatic level, which translates into a higher incidence of diabetes. This is stated by a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

Is it truly dangerous to have high cholesterol?

In recent years, it has been shown that it’s not always dangerous to have high cholesterol levels. It’s important to accurately differentiate the concentration of each of the lipoproteins, as well as to study the lifestyle of the person and their inflammatory profile. In this regard, the results can be heterogeneous, so an individualized analysis is required.

Keep in mind that there’s a strong genetic determination regarding cholesterol levels in the body. This substance is produced endogenously, so its dietary intake won’t have a decisive influence. The body is able to adjust the synthesis based on the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol that appear in the diet.

However, trans fats are capable of impacting this parameter, not only affecting the concentration of said lipoproteins but also modifying their oxidation rate. For this reason, it’s important to analyze the person’s dietary habits in conjunction with their lipid profile. A total cholesterol level of 250 in an athletic person wouldn’t be at all worrisome, for example.

However, whenever there are doubts about it, it’s best to consult a professional. Of course, the administration of drugs to control cholesterol should be the last option. They have a multitude of side effects, and the supposed benefit they generate hasn’t been properly evidenced by scientific literature.

Habits that modify cholesterol

A diet rich in cholesterol-raising foods can be combated with exercise
Staying in shape not only helps improve body composition but also helps you achieve good health.

The lipid profile can’t be modified through diet alone, as there are many other factors that affect it. The most influential of them all is the degree of physical activity. The regular practice of exercise will optimize the cholesterol level, as well as generate an environment of positive homeostasis in the internal environment.

This way, it’s possible to reduce the levels of inflammation and oxidation in the body, which causes a truly beneficial impact on the state of health. In this context, it’s unlikely that aggregation will actually form inside the blood vessels, which is related to the genesis of clots and the appearance of severe cardiovascular problems.

Likewise, proper sleep is essential. It’s crucial to ensure at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night so that the human body recovers correctly after each day. If this isn’t fulfilled, you’ll immediately begin to experience alterations related to the levels of inflammation and imbalances in hormonal production, which affects all systems.

Maintaining high stress levels will also affect lipoprotein oxidation and overall lipid profile. It even influences other parameters related to cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure. Getting a good night’s rest will help level off stress, but certain habits may also need to be put in place to combat them.

And what about the eggs? Are they foods that raise cholesterol?

For a long time, experts recommended limiting the consumption of eggs in order to achieve control of the lipid profile and improve the state of health. However, at present, studies have shown that these foods don’t have a negative impact on the body, but rather the opposite.

As we’ve mentioned, dietary cholesterol and saturated fats don’t have a significant influence on the concentration of lipoproteins.

The important thing is to prepare the eggs under suitable cooking methods, such as the grill, the oven, or boiling. You should avoid frying eggs, as this could generate trans fats, in addition to increasing the energy value of said food.

If good preparation methods are applied, eggs are a very suitable type of food to include in a healthy diet. They contain a large amount of essential nutrients. They’re a source of proteins of high biological value and of vitamin D, the latter element being deficient in the general population. Almost 50% of people don’t meet the daily requirements of it.

In this regard, the consumption of eggs can be one of the main strategies to ensure a good daily protein intake. They have all the essential amino acids and a good score for digestibility. They help prevent alterations in the correct functioning of the lean mass, ensuring the maintenance of strength over time.

Reduce the presence of foods that raise cholesterol in your diet

There are a number of foods that can raise cholesterol, thus altering the body’s lipid profile. However, this isn’t the most dangerous thing about them, but the fact that they manage to modify the inflammatory and oxidative states in the internal environment, disrupting homeostasis. For this reason, it’s advisable to restrict their consumption as much as possible.

Now, remember that in order to prevent cardiovascular disease and improve health, you’ll need to combine a series of good lifestyle habits. At the dietary level, the presence in the diet of vegetables and oily fish should be emphasized, as the latter contain omega-3 fatty acids, compounds with a high anti-inflammatory capacity.

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