Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations & The Dietary GuidelinesYou may have heard or read , reports in the press suggest information was shared regarding the work of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which reviews research and generates an Advisory Report, every five years. The Advisory Report is one important piece considered by the agencies in producing The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves as the basis for the government’s nutrition policy and nutrition education (e.g. MyPlate). News stories are indicating the 2015 Advisory Report (not yet available to the public) will recommend that cholesterol no longer be considered a “food component to reduce,” which currently comes with a recommendation to limit intake to <300 day.="" mg="" o:p="">300>
Just a bit on cholesterol: We make cholesterol in our bodies in order to make our cells; animals do this as well-so we take in cholesterol when eating foods containing animal fats. One risk factor for heart disease is how we transport that cholesterol around our body in our blood, with “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) increasing our risk for heart disease, while “good cholesterol” (HDL cholesterol) reduces our risk. Some people appear to adjust their production and blood cholesterol to accommodate how much cholesterol they eat, while other people do not. It is this second group that may benefit from reducing the cholesterol in their diet. We have learned from research that other dietary factors influence our blood cholesterol as well-including saturated and trans fats. Even for saturated fats, we’re finding differences among the types of saturated fats and how people respond to them.
Implications: This makes providing dietary guidance that can apply to the entire population difficult. Do we recommend limiting dietary cholesterol for everyone, if it may be only a subpopulation that benefits? That approach was used in requiring enriched grains to contain folic acid for the benefit of women at risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect. However, our recommendations can have unintended consequences. An example is the public perception that eggs are bad for them. Eggs were a “victim” of early concerns about cholesterol, potentially eliminating a relatively inexpensive source of high quality protein. Those developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will consider the latest research and the most appropriate way to translate that for the public.
For the moment: Access to the final Advisory Report is not available so we don’t know the cholesterol recommendation. We also don’t know how this will be translated into the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Advisory Report will be published, public comments as well as comments from other federal agencies will be solicited, and all will be considered in developing The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015. This 2015 version may not be put out until late this year. Until then, we’re basing our work on the current US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Current guidelines include recommendations on dietary fats and the limit on dietary cholesterol, but do note that consuming one egg/day does not adversely affect blood cholesterol or increase heart disease risk. A program participant or member of the public concerned about their individual heart disease risk and the role of dietary cholesterol, would appropriately be referred to their health care provider.
Source: UW-Extension Nutrition Specialists