Does sugar affect cholesterol levels?

Updated February 21, 2017

Sugar may not have cholesterol in it, but if you are struggling with high cholesterol, it may be more harmful than you realise. Understand how sugar can affect your cholesterol levels and what you can do about it.

Cholesterol Sources

To understand how sugar can affect your cholesterol levels, you need to understand where cholesterol comes from. Cholesterol is found naturally in your body. While the foods you eat add cholesterol to your bloodstream, the American Heart Association states that 75 per cent of the cholesterol is created in your body. Eating foods low in cholesterol can help, but it is your overall health that affects your cholesterol levels.

Sugar and Cholesterol

Sugar itself does not have cholesterol, but it is often served in high-cholesterol foods. Ice cream, chocolate and pastries cooked with butter and eggs can carry a significant amount of calories and fat. These are foods that you should definitely avoid if you are trying to lower your cholesterol.


Sugar is high in calories and does not add much nutritional value. If you are struggling with high cholesterol and weight problems, avoiding sugar in your diet can help you. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, excess weight can cause your body to make extra triglycerides, increasing the bad type of cholesterol in your body, while lowering the good cholesterol. Sugar is high in calories, so eat less of it, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Because it is low in nutrients, it also causes you to crave more food, further decreasing your chances for losing weight.

Natural Sugars

Sugar is found naturally in fruits, but so is fibre, which helps lower cholesterol. Also, fruit is low in calories, so it will not add to weight gain. When you crave something sweet, try reaching for a banana or some berries instead of a chocolate bar.


If food is your passion, you may feel unhappy if you are never allowed to eat something you love. Some sugary foods are fine in your diet as long as they are eaten in moderation. If you want some ice cream, try eating a kiddie cone to satisfy your craving or satisfy your chocolate bar craving with a mini chocolate bar. Having the things you like in moderation may keep you from feeling deprived and overeating.

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About the Author

Amber Webb started her professional writing career in 2005. She has written for the United Way, the National Forest Service and has worked in corporate communications at several technology companies. She now works as a freelance writer. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Brigham Young University.