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Expert Panel Will Likely Drop Cholesterol Warnings

In a twist that may surprise many people, the panel of experts known as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will likely be dropping its warning about cholesterol, and not considering it a “nutrient of concern,” in its forthcoming report, according to the Washington Post. The committee’s report forms the basis for the government’s official Dietary Guidelines, which are issued every 5 years, including in the fall of 2015. The new cholesterol recommendation, if accepted, would mark a significant shift in attitude towards cholesterol—the government has been warning consumers about the dangers of cholesterol for nearly 40 years; for example, current guidelines recommend consuming no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.

While there has been research linking cholesterol to heart disease, science is now showing that the relationship between the two is more complicated. It is now thought that there is significant variability in how people respond to dietary cholesterol, and some nutritionists believe that dietary cholesterol does not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood. Indeed, the committee appears to view too much saturated fat, not too much cholesterol, as the greater danger. The recommendation, however, applies only to dietary cholesterol, and will not change current advice about the risks of having high blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. In addition, it is important to note that the way in which food is cooked may contribute to the health effects of dietary cholesterol—in particular, cooking methods that lead to the oxidation of cholesterol (such as the application of high heat) might be more concerning than methods that do not lead to oxidation.

Source: Washington Post

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