How fatty, sugary foods increase blood cholesterol

Fat is the most concentrated source of energy. We could all do with eating a lot less than we do, even ‘good’ fats such as olive oil should be used sparingly. Fat comes from meat products, fish, chocolate, biscuits or chips as well as oils that we use in cooking.

A healthy diet should provide no more than 35 per cent of the total calories consumed from fat. For the average man this is approximately 90g of fat per day and for women it is around 70g per day. Fats supply the body with fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Saturated fats found in pastry, cakes, cheese and biscuits raise blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats in nuts, seeds and oils such as olive oil and rapeseed oil reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats in sunflower and fish oils have no affect on the cholesterol level.

Sugary foods come in many disguises. Table sugar can be added to foods such as breakfast cereal or drinks or in cakes, biscuits and sweets. Sugar does occur naturally in foods (in fruits, some vegetables and honey) but the fatty and sugary food group concentrates on sugars that are processed into table sugar and then added to or made into various foods.

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Two of the best known simple carbohydrates are sucrose (often referred to as table sugar, it consists of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose, when eaten the body breaks it down) and glucose (often called blood sugar, it is the most important carbohydrate in the blood).

It is not necessary to have refined table sugar (sucrose) in the diet, your body does not need it, your energy supplies should come from complex carbohydrates (starchy foods in the bread and cereals food group) as these give you a sustained release of energy and keep the blood sugar (glucose) level more stable.

For a healthy diet, eat only small amounts of fatty and sugary foods as occasional treats. Also avoiding, where possible, saturated animal fats.

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