How do snack foods affect my risk for high cholesterol?

If snacks such as potato chips, corn chips, buttered popcorn, candy bars, cookies, and cake are a regular part of your diet, you may be at risk for high cholesterol due to too much fat in your diet. Hydrogenated oils are found in many prepared foods, such as crackers, cookies, and desserts. Hydrogenation is a process that makes vegetable oils harder, giving them a longer shelf life. It also makes oils more likely to raise LDL cholesterol levels. The list of ingredients on food labels may say if the food contains hydrogenated oil. Vegetable shortening and margarine are hydrogenated.

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 snacks and dessert. For instance, try pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, animal crackers, melba toast, rice cakes, fresh or frozen fruit, chopped vegetables, and flavored gelatin. Also, try fat-free chips.
  • Read food labels, and choose products that do not contain hydrogenated oil.
  • 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.

To learn more about lowering your cholesterol, visit the following links:


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