Drinking Habits to Avoid If You Don’t Want High Cholesterol, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

It is true that foods rich in saturated fats can raise cholesterol, but they are not the only foods to blame.

Surprisingly, there is a strong body of evidence to suggest that foods high in cholesterol do not directly raise cholesterol levels. In fact, there are a combination of lifestyle factors and genes that play a role when it comes to high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol levels are affected by:

  • proper nutrition
  • alcohol
  • exercise habits
  • Stress
  • sleep hygiene
  • weight management
  • Omar
  • Genetics
  • pharmaceutical
  • smoking

Improving cholesterol is likely a result of both what you choose to eat and what you exercise to reduce. Let’s dive into the exact drinking habits to change in order to start improving your cholesterol levels!


Added sugars can raise LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. One way this happens is through the liver. Excess sugar indicates that the liver produces more bad substances, and lowers good cholesterol.

It’s hard to drink less soda. Wean yourself slowly, and find alternatives that you enjoy. Consider this personal account on how I stopped drinking soda.

Three carrot mocktail recipes and a purple pig mocktail
Courtesy of Purple Pig

Sober life is trending full of curiosity – and for good reason! In addition to the mental health benefits, drinking less alcohol is good for your heart. In fact, the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption – defined as one standard drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men – are now up for debate.

When in doubt, it may be wise to drink with extra vigilance. Make a mocktail at home if you’re feeling fancy, and enjoy the health benefits of cutting back on!

Related: Get more drinking tips in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter!

ice tea
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If you live in the South, this person might sting. Sweet tea is rich in calories and added sugars, which we already know raise “bad” cholesterol.

Sweet tea is often drunk as usual. Meaning, we drink it out of habit with every meal or as a refreshment. These daily habits pile up and empty calories from sugar-sweetened beverages don’t help either.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are known to have a negative effect on our weight over time, leading to an increased rate of obesity. Both being overweight and obese are associated with increased cholesterol levels.

For more, we’ve got you covered with America’s best and worst packaged teas.

coffee cream
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Coffee whiteners are very tasty, but this “boost” adds quite a bit of sugar and fat to your cup of choice. Creams also tend to be dairy-based and high in saturated fat — a type of fat that may raise cholesterol in some people more than others.

Consider limiting one or two servings to your coffee to see how much you’re really drinking. Choose a creamer with less added sugar and fat, and see if you can handle a portioned meal!

traditional dairy milk
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Whether you drink milk, coffee whitener, or a new kefir option, be aware of the added calories from saturated fat. Choose low-fat, 1%, or 2% fat options most of the time.

For an added cholesterol bonus, focus on combining foods that contain saturated fat with fiber-rich options to “bind” the excess cholesterol your body produces. A high-fiber diet has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol!

For more advice regarding cholesterol, read the following:

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