You may be at risk for high cholesterol due to a high-fat diet. Baked goods often contain saturated fat that's hidden, unlike the visible fat on meats. Hydrogenated shortenings are found in many prepared foods, such as pastries, crackers, cookies, and desserts. Hydrogenation is a process that makes vegetable oils harder, giving them a longer shelf life. It also makes the oils more likely to raise LDL - the bad cholesterol.
How to Reduce Your Risk
Take these actions to have a healthier heart.
- If you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested.
- Substitute lower-fat foods for your usual pastries or snacks. For instance, try whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat bread, bagels, English muffins, pita bread, pretzels, or unbuttered popcorn. Add jelly for sweetness since it is fat free. Avoid high-fat spreads, including butter and cream cheese.
- Limit your total fat intake to no more than 25% to 35% of your total daily calories.
- Limit your saturated fat intake to less than 7% of your total daily calories.