6 Fast Food Orders to Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol: Eat This, Not That

Fast food can be a lifesaver when you need food in your belly ASAP. Thanks to amazingly efficient processes and many prepared foods, you can enjoy a full meal in less time than it takes to cook yourself. With nearly 40% of Americans consuming fast food on any given day, it doesn’t look like fast food eating habits are going away any time soon.

Unfortunately, the medical literature does not support the practice of eating fast food frequently when it comes to controlling cholesterol. According to the results of a study published in the Nutrition Magazineweekly fast food consumption is linked to elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, two outcomes most people with high cholesterol want to avoid.

That’s because fast food items aren’t always made with the most ideal ingredients for people with high cholesterol. Experts recommend a diet that is made up of a variety of products, low in saturated fat and limited in sodium to help lower cholesterol. Limiting fried foods is also a common suggestion for those trying to lower cholesterol. And since a juicy burger, crispy fries, and a sweet soda is the quintessential fast food combo, it’s safe to assume that frequenting a fast food restaurant isn’t a common recommendation from cardiologists and other heart health experts.

Among the many menu options available at popular fast food outlets, there are some foods that are better choices for people with high cholesterol than others. As a general rule of thumb, sticking to dishes that aren’t fried, aren’t full of creamy sauces, and don’t contain large amounts of fatty meats will be a better choice for the high-cholesterol crowd.

If you’re one of those who frequents fast food joints for a quick meal and has high cholesterol, here are six orders to avoid, along with six better options to help keep your heart health in check.

Wendy's Triple Large Bacon Cheddar Burger
Courtesy of Wendy’s

Made with three-quarters of a pound of beef, cheese sauce, bacon jam and topped with fried onions, bacon slices and more cheese, this burger is loaded with more than a handful of ingredients high in saturated fat, sodium and other nutritional factors that people with high cholesterol should limit.

Just one of these burgers will fuel your body with a whopping 42 grams of saturated fat, or the kind of fat that tends to raise LDL cholesterol levels. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends that saturated fat alone contain 5% to 6% of the total calories you consume in a day. Therefore, if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet, you should consume only about 13 grams of saturated fat per day. In other words, this sandwich is the antithesis of what you should be eating if you have high cholesterol.

wendy's summer strawberry salad
Courtesy of Wendy’s

This salad is made with fruits, vegetables, and grilled chicken breast, making it a fantastic addition to a cholesterol-lowering diet. You can ask to skip the bacon bits if you want to be extra cautious, but adding a small amount of these crunchy additions probably won’t have much of an effect on your heart health.

RELATED: 6 Best Fast Food Salads in America

mcdonalds big breakfast
Courtesy of McDonald’s

Sure, starting your day with sausage, fries, and a buttery biscuit sounds delicious, but leaning on this big breakfast can put you back on 24 grams of saturated fat per day, or nearly double the amount allotted for a 2,000-calorie diet. . Plus, this breakfast is free of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, which can leave people without important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help keep their heart health where they want it to be.

RELATED: 4 Worst Breakfast Habits You Should Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol

mcdonalds fruit maple oatmeal
Courtesy of McDonald’s

While McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal isn’t the best oatmeal on the planet for heart health, it’s made from real oats, which is a very good thing. Oatmeal contains a unique fiber called beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, including any breakfast made with oatmeal, like this oatmeal, can be a heart-healthy option.

Pro Tip: Just add a small amount of the ingredients to your bowl of oatmeal to reduce your intake of added sugar (brown sugar and dried fruit can make this oatmeal a sugar bomb!).

Subway chicken bacon ranch sub
Courtesy of Subway

If you opt for a foot-long sub, choosing this salty combo will give you 22 grams of saturated fat and nearly 60 grams of total fat. The combination of creamy ranch and fatty bacon is certainly not a match made in heaven for heart health.

Subway Grilled Chicken Salad
Courtesy of Subway

Subway has an impressive salad menu, and you can mix and match your greens however you like. Just choose an oil-based dressing instead of a creamy option and you’re good to go.

burger king triple whopper
king of burgers

While cheeseburgers can be part of a balanced, healthy meal, eating an oversized version can load your body with too many unsavory nutrients. The Triple Whopper with Cheese is a prime example of this: With almost 40 grams of saturated fat, 2.8 grams of trans fat, and more than 2,200 milligrams of sodium, this sandwich is not a heart-healthy option.

RELATED: The #1 Best Eating Habit for Heart Health, New Study Suggests

burger king burger jr.  kids food
Courtesy of Burger King

There is no rule that adults cannot eat a child’s food. If you’re craving a burger, this meal comes in a reasonable portion size and isn’t loaded with creamy or high-fat ingredients. You can swap juice for nonfat milk for extra protein along with calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and a handful of other key nutrients.

long john silver's pacific cod meal
Courtesy of Long John Silver’s

Seafood is one of the best things people can eat to support their heart health. Between the lean protein, omega-3s, and micronutrients found in seafood, it’s no wonder the American Heart Association recommends that people include two servings of fish in their diet each week.

But if you think having a plate of fried fish with a side of French fries and Shush puppies “counts” as an acceptable serving of seafood, think again. While this dish will provide heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the association specifically says that the fish should not be fried to meet their suggestion.

So while Long John Silver’s Pacific Cod dish is made with real fish, it’s battered and fried, so it’s not as desirable for those who are watching their cholesterol levels. And since the sides have more fried elements, this dish is best left for a treat once in a while.

RELATED: We Tried 13 Fast Food Fish Sandwiches & This Is The Best

long john silver's grilled salmon meal
Courtesy of Long John Silver’s

Salmon is a fatty cold-water fish that is one of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. And since eating non-fried fish is linked to lower LDL cholesterol, opting for this fast-food fish dinner may be one of the best choices you can make to support your heart health. Side dishes include classic green beans, corn, and rice, making for a decently balanced meal that isn’t fried and packs in important nutrients.

KFC Chicken Pot Pie
Courtesy of KFC

There’s no denying that there aren’t many things that are as comforting and delicious as eating a well-done chicken pot pie. There is also no denying that KFC is a very tasty option.

But, when you focus on nutrition, KFC pot pie is probably one of the worst things people with high cholesterol can eat. Between the buttery flaky crust and creamy sauce, this dish is known to be a significant source of saturated fat—25 grams of this type of fat per serving, to be exact. A cake also contains more than 40 grams of total fat and 1,750 milligrams of sodium.

kfc grilled chicken green beans
Courtesy of KFC

These thighs only contain 3 grams of saturated fat and less sodium than the grilled brisket option. They are a great source of protein and, like all dark meat chicken, are a natural source of key nutrients including iron, choline and vitamin B12. Pair your chicken with a side of green beans and sweet corn for a balanced and delicious meal.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.