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Cholesterol News Update

By on February 13, 2015

The rules about cholesterol are changing!

Health experts say cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern,” the nation’s leading nutritional panel has concluded. Health experts agreed it’s no longer necessary to consider a food’s cholesterol content when making dietary decisions. Eaters should instead focus on avoiding trans fats and saturated fats.

The decision to delete specific cholesterol intake restrictions was made by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The panel’s draft report will published in the coming weeks and subject to a public comment period. The report will be used to craft the federal government’s updated nutritional guidelines.

The decision comes as more and more nutritional science emphasizes a distinction between good and bad cholesterol. Nutritionists aren’t denying the reality that too much bad cholesterol in the blood can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke.

But they say the science connecting high-cholesterol foods to the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood is lacking — not conclusive enough to warrant federal intake recommendations. Even the predictive value of bad cholesterol levels (in looking at heart attack risk) has shown to be weak by recent studies.

But fear of cholesterol and its role in clogging arteries may take time to recede. Warnings about bacon and eggs have been a mainstay of nutritional truisms for more than half of a century. Though the specific amounts have changed over the years, U.S. has recommended limiting cholesterol intake since 1961. Other countries that offer dietary guidelines have long abandoned specific caps on cholesterol.

“The U.S. is the last country in the world to set a specific limit on dietary cholesterol,” David Klurfeld, a nutritional scientist at the USDA, told media. “Some of it is scientific inertia.”