Dietary cholesterol was condemned for the last 40 years as a contributor to chronic health conditions such as heart disease. But recent changes in nutritional understanding, topped off by the recent changes in recommendations from a top government panel, have taken the target off of foods high in cholesterol.
Researchers now believe that eating foods high in cholesterol doesn’t necessarily increase blood cholesterol levels or increase the risk of heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), the government group that provides the scientific input behind the nation’s “Dietary Guidelines,” is making headlines with its new recommendations that remove dietary restrictions on cholesterol, which contradicts recommendations from even five years ago.
The warnings against cholesterol changed how Americans ate. For example, egg consumption dropped by about 30 percent per capita when the government adopted recommendations against cholesterol in the 60s, according to the Washington Post.
Important to note is that high blood cholesterol is still deemed dangerous, so monitoring cholesterol levels is still important.
For the millions of Americans who’ve been told time and time again that cholesterol-rich foods should be avoided, this drastic change probably comes as a surprise. But Americans are used to nutritional contradictions, so the news probably comes with a sigh and an eye roll as well.
Though cholesterol is off the hot seat, there are still plenty of dietary recommendations to consider. When the DGAC met in December of 2014, they identified “Nutrients of Concern:”
- Vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber are underconsumed across the entire US populations.
- Iron is underconsumed for adolescent and premenopausal females.
- Sodium is overconsumed across the entire US population.
- Saturared fat is overconsumed.
Following this part of the report comes this line: “Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”