Dietary saturated fat, not cholesterol, is the major cause of high blood cholesterol and especially high LDL (bad) cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol directly lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Saturated fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol, increases inflammation, and causes the blood to be more sticky. Foods that are typically high in saturated fat include meat, cheese, whole-milk products and tropical oils. The goal is to eat no more than 5-10 grams of saturated fat a day. Lowering one’s LDL cholesterol is a great way to lower one’s risk for heart attacks and strokes.