The Top Foods That Are increasing your cholesterol

Intro

There was no way of putting a positive spin on this blog. And, the post was rewritten and edited I dont know how many times. 

I guess the most important thing is to be aware of food labels, and words like partially hydrogenated, and oils/fats like palm fats. 

Deciding to investigate further when writing this, I walk around and looked at biscuits in a shop, and they all had palm oil/fats. They dont mention whether they are partially hydrogenated or not. Regardless of that, palm oils/fats are heavily saturated fats and so they can increase your cholesterol. 

Fast & convenience foods

We all know certain foods are just bad for us, like fast foods and biscuits etc ?

One of the reasons is TRANS FATS. 

Trans fast are bad for our health and they have no known nutritional value in the body. 

They raise our total cholesterol as well as our bad (LDL) cholesterol, and reduce our good cholesterol (HDL). A high daily consumption(just over 2%) leading to a higher risk increase of heart attacks, strokes and death. 

And its easy for anyone to just say – avoid them. 

But the problem, is that they are very difficult to find in and see in foods and on food labels.

A diet containing 2% or more Trans fats per day increases your risk heart disease by up to 32%. SOURCE

Currently it not mandatory to say mention Trans fats on food labels. So therefore its difficult to find them! However, new legislation as of the 1st April 2021, makes it mandatory to have a maximum of 2 grams of industrially produced trans fats per 100 grams.

The WHO on its website claims

“Partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) are the main source of industrially-produced trans fat. PHO is an ingredient in many foods, including margarine, vegetable shortening, and Vanaspati ghee; fried foods and doughnuts; baked goods such as crackers, biscuits, and pies; and pre-mixed products such as pancake and hot chocolate mix. Baked and fried street and restaurant foods often contain industrially-produced trans fat. All of these products can be made without industrially-produced trans fat.”

TRANS FATS 

Artificial or industrial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated fats.

To make trans fats, vegetable oils are altered to keep them solid at room temperature. WHY?

Within the food manufacturing industry, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils provide a long shelf life for certain products. HOW? They provide stability during deep frying, and as they are semisolid, they can be customised to enhance the palatability of baked goods and sweets. 

Some TRANS FATS FACTS

  • Industrially produced trans fats increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as coronary heart disease and death from same. READ 
  • Reducing/eliminating trans fats in foods would results in 1000s of less deaths per year, AND would reduce health inequalities.How ? Certain communities rely on cheaper foods. READ 
  • Trans fats cause this increase in cardiovascular disease by raising cholesterol, and inflammation. READ 

In some counties in the state of NewYork, they found there was a 6% decrease in admissions to hospitals with heart attacks and strokes 3 years after restricting thee use of trans fats. READ 

 

Trans Fats are found in

  • margarines
  • fried pies
  • pastries
  • pizza dough
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • pre-packaged biscuits, cakes and wafers
  • Microwave popcorn
  • doughnuts
  • frozen pizza
  • biscuits

A GOOD BLOG ON TRANS FATS IN FOOD 

 

Soups and Stock

These contain palm fats. Palm fats raise total cholesterol levels and bad cholesterol levels as they contain very high amounts of saturated fats. It is unclear if these have been modified to ‘partially hydrogenated’ etc, but having palm fats /oils  in foods is a definite contributor to increasing cholesterol. READ 

High up on the list of ingredients too, 3rd in both cases. 

vegetable fats cholesterol
example of palm fat in dried soup

The Issues

  • “It is not mandatory for the presence of trans-fats in food products to be mentioned on the label…”
  • Food labelling is confusing at times, and they do not highlight the issue and so it can be confusing to consumers. READ 

 

What you will see most likely see, if anything at all, is:

  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

The risk of dying from heart disease is 20%-32% higher when consuming 2% of the daily energy intake from trans fats than from any other nutrient. 

What is being done about it ?

Within the EU:

There will be limit on iTFA content of 2% of fat for products sold direct to consumers and a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) brought into the EU as of April this year. 

Popular products in which iTFAs can be found are categories of bakery products (e.g. biscuits and pastries), vegetable fats (e.g. margarines and spreads), confectionery (e.g. fillings and creams) and certain fried foods (e.g. potato crisps). 

SOURCE

READ THE EU FACTSHEET. 

 

4 thoughts on “The Top Foods That are Increasing Your Cholesterol

  1. Catherine O’Connor says:

    Omg !! Did a quick run around the kitchen now & everything has palm oil … this has definitely opened my eyes … thank you
    Btw congratulations on being an auntie again

    • Cliona says:

      Hi Catherine!

      I know, its just about being aware! I didnt want to be freaking everyone out, but just wanted to highlight it!

      Thank you, I’m very proud to be an Auntie again!

  2. Stefanie says:

    Oh dear, the Knorr veg stock cubes I use contain palm oil. And I changed from butter to Flora Light, which I’ve just seen contains palm oil. So I’ll be going back to good old Irish butter, although I was advised to stay away from fatty foods (like butter) because of acid reflux. Seems one can’t win!
    Thanks for the info!

    • Cliona says:

      Stefania, the stress writing this blog cannot be underestimated! Its so difficult to figure out whats right and whats not so right. But its easy to say eat this, eat that, Much much harder to say maybe have a look out for these things! I hope you are well, thanks for reading X

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