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

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By Darryl Henderson

If you’ve got high cholesterol, you need to pay close attention to your diet to avoid the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues, as diet plays a crucial role in managing cholesterol levels. For guidance, we’ve listed 18 foods you shouldn’t eat if you have high cholesterol.


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Bacon is very high in saturated fat and sodium, which can contribute to high cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. You really don’t want that in your diet! Choosing turkey bacon or plant-based alternatives will remove this risk while still giving you that crispy bacon experience.

Fried Chicken

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According to VeryWell Health, fried chicken contains trans fats, which can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce HDL (good) cholesterol. The breading on the fried chicken can also be high in refined carbs, and all of this combined can add to your waistline and reduce your heart health. Avoid!


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Cheeseburgers contain a lot of saturated fat, which can raise bad cholesterol and increase the risk of heart problems, particularly if you have high cholesterol already. They’re also high in calories, which can cause you to pack on pounds quickly, so try to save them for occasional treats.


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Pastries like croissants, cakes, and pies often contain butter and trans fats, both of which are bad for cholesterol levels. These treats can be tempting but are best enjoyed in moderation. Why not look for whole-grain versions or consider making your own with healthier ingredients?


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Doughnuts contain a high level of saturated and trans fat from frying, as well as lots of refined sugars and flour. For snacks that are less deadly to those with high cholesterol, Verywell Health recommends opting for whole foods such as apples with nut butter, berries, low-fat Greek yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs.


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Everyone loves cheese, but it’s a significant source of saturated fat, which can increase bad cholesterol levels. If you do enjoy cheese (who doesn’t?), opt for lower-fat varieties like cottage cheese, part-skim mozzarella, or ricotta. You can also try using smaller portions to enjoy the flavor without the added fat.


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Pizza is notoriously high in saturated fat and calories, particularly when extra toppings are added. To make healthier pizzas, choose vegetable toppings and limit the amount of cheese you use. Also, thin-crust pizzas reduce the amount of refined flour and calorie intake, making them a wise option. 


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Sausages are typically high in saturated fat and contain sodium nitrites, which are linked to a range of health risks…ouch. They’re pretty terrible for you, so switch to chicken or turkey sausages if you’re looking for a healthier choice, as they normally contain far less saturated fat and additives. 

Full-Fat Milk

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Drinking full-fat milk can raise cholesterol levels because it’s high in fat, whereas skimmed or semi-skimmed options can actually help lower cholesterol. Plant-based milk, such as almond or soy, is another alternative with no cholesterol, but let’s be real: it’s just not the same!

French Fries

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The World Health Organization says that a high intake of trans fat increases the risk of death from any cause by 34%. Tragically, French fries are deep-fried in oil, which makes them outrageously high in trans fats and extra calories. Try baking or roasting potatoes instead; they’re just as tasty but far healthier.


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Pepperoni is a processed meat loaded with saturated fat and sodium, making it awful if you have high cholesterol. Try eating lean meats or plant-based toppings like aubergines or tomatoes instead of processed meats, as this can significantly reduce the saturated fat and sodium content in your meals. You’ll soon get used to it!

Whipped Cream

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Whipped cream is high in both saturated fat and sugar, contributing to very high cholesterol levels. Don’t worry, though; whipped coconut cream or Greek yogurt work as healthier toppings, as these provide a similar texture and taste without the high saturated fat content. 


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Ribs are fatty cuts of meat cooked with sugary sauces that are typically high in sodium. Opting for leaner cuts like chicken breast or pork loin is a far healthier choice, and grilling or baking leaner cuts of meat will quickly lead to a genuinely delicious and heart-healthy meal.

Lard-Based Foods

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Cooking with lard can increase cholesterol levels exponentially as it is derived from pork fat and contains enormous levels of saturated fat. Replace lard with healthier oils like olive oil, rapeseed oil, or avocado oil for their healthier unsaturated fats. Heck, even real butter is better than lard!

Ice Cream

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Medical News Today shares that ice cream is high in saturated fat and refined sugar, much to our dismay. Eating a lot of ice cream can increase bad cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lead to a range of illnesses, such as heart disease, so don’t go overboard. 

Buttered Popcorn

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Buttered popcorn can contain shockingly high levels of trans fats, but thankfully, there are alternatives. Air-popped popcorn with light seasoning is much healthier, and nutritional yeast or other low-fat seasonings can provide flavor without adding a ton of saturated fat. Don’t worry; you can keep your popcorn!

Egg Yolks

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Believe it or not, you can increase blood cholesterol levels by eating large quantities of egg yolks, so it might be better to ditch the yolk and cook with just egg whites instead. This way, you can still enjoy the taste and texture of eggs without harming your cholesterol.

Sweetened Cereals

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Finally, the National Institutes of Health reminds us that breakfast cereals are frequently marketed as healthy. However, most sweetened cereals contain very high levels of sugar, which can tip your cholesterol further in the wrong direction. Some cereals, such as Honey Nut Cheerios and Raisin Bran Crunch, contain the same amount of sugar as a donut!