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American Family Children's Hospital
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How Dietary Fats Affect Cholesterol

Different types of fat can have different effects on high cholesterol.

Dietary fats and their food sources
Type of fat Found in these foods Effect on your cholesterol level
Saturated fat
  • Fatty meats (beef, pork)
  • Poultry skin
  • Butterfat (in whole milk, cream, ice cream, cheese)
  • Tropical oils (coconut, palm)
  • Chocolate
Monounsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Canola oil
  • Lowers LDL if substituted for saturated fat
  • Keeps HDL up
Polyunsaturated fat
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Linoleic acid in moderation can lower LDL
Omega-3 fats
  • All fish, especially fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
  • Plant sources, such as walnuts, canola, and flaxseed oils
  • Lowers triglycerides
Trans fatty acids
  • Hydrogenated fats, margarine, vegetable shortening, nondairy creamer, and whipped toppings
  • Snack foods (potato chips, cookies, cakes)
  • Peanut butter that contains hydrogenated fat (except all-natural varieties)
  • Raises LDL
  • Little effect on HDL but at high levels can lower HDL
By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Carl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology
Last Revised September 11, 2012

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