Business Insider/YouTube A new study has revealed that the top 10 foods on earth have the highest levels of elevated blood cholesterol, as well as the highest risks of heart attack and stroke.
The study, published in the journal Circulation, looked at more than 5,000 people from all over the world, who had blood pressure and cholesterol levels at or above the “interquartile range” (IQR) for the risk of heart disease.
The authors of the study, led by Dr. Steven Katz, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, concluded that the “top 10” of the foods have the greatest impact on blood cholesterol levels.
“The study suggests that the best-known foods may be at the top of the list of foods that contribute to the high levels of circulating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the population,” Katz wrote in the study’s abstract.
This is not the first study to come out on the impact of these foods.
A 2014 study found that eating a diet of high-fiber foods can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease in people of all ages.
“When we consider how much the top foods contribute to our risk of coronary heart disease, this is a very relevant finding,” Katz told Business Insider.
Katz said the results from the new study will be “very relevant” for those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
“It means that if you are a person with a pre-existent heart disease or high blood pressure, there is a significant reduction in the impact they will have on their risk of developing heart disease and stroke,” he said.
“They are a very important target population for cardiovascular disease prevention because they are the ones who are at high risk for cardiovascular risk.”
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer, and it’s also the biggest risk factor of diabetes and obesity in the US.
Healthy people are at greater risk for these conditions because they have higher levels of low-grade cholesterol, which can cause a buildup of cholesterol in their arteries, and lower levels of HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol.
“If you have lower HDL levels, you have more low-quality cholesterol, and therefore less risk of cardiovascular disease,” Katz said.
A 2015 study found high-sugar diets could also have a detrimental effect on blood lipid levels, and the findings of the new studies are “very troubling,” Katz added.
Health officials have long advocated for low-sugars diets and weight loss to reduce the risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, and they’re also encouraging people to eat less sugar in general.
But Katz believes that this new research may indicate that the diet is too low.
“These are very good results, and we should expect that this will be replicated in future studies,” he told Business Insider.
“We will probably need to look at the effects of other types of diets as well, and then we can say what the best diet is.”
“There is not enough information to say whether the [high-soda diet] is safe and effective or not,” Katz continued.