Latest Dietary Cholesterol Guidelines


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Ms. Ramya Ramachandran, Nutritionist talks about the Latest Guidelines on Dietary Cholesterol..

Cholesterol and Heart Disease” is the most debated topic after “Sugar and Diabetes”. For decades it’s been argued that Cholesterol is considered to be dangerous to heart health especially eating eggs can raise the LDL cholesterol.. Alas, the recent US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) 2015-2020 has released a statement saying that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern now. The past guidelines recommended a daily cholesterol intake of not more than 300 mg/day for healthy individuals whereas the latest revised guidelines has completely removed the limit on daily intake of dietary cholesterol. The sudden change in the guidelines has thrown the medical world out of gear.

But this change is the effect of years of accumulation of data from various researchers. Several studies have found that a high fat diet is not the only contributing factor for becoming obese or developing cardiovascular disease and restricting the intake of fat is not a solution for weight loss. And lot of evidences shows that a high carbohydrate diet and persistent insulin resistance leads to diabetes and this is the important risk factor for heart attack. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces more insulin but does not effectively use it. As a result more glucose accumulates in the blood stream instead of being absorbed by the cells to produce energy. This leads to diabetes.

How do we interpret the present evidence? What do we understand from all these??

It’s not about “All Fat or No Fat”. It is about the right type and amount of fat we eat. It’s been said that this fairly balanced dietary approach is more beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease than a low fat diet. The past recommendations that focused on a high carbohydrate low fat diet (HCLF) thought to reduce the blood cholesterol level indeed increases the cholesterol and blood glucose level and also stimulates hunger according to the recent studies. Replacing good fats (Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats) with saturated fats or carbohydrates is actually more dangerous to health. Furthermore, this universal restriction on the total fat intake certainly reduces the intake of unsaturated fats such as nuts, fish and vegetable oils which are considered to be healthy.

New Cholesterol guidelines

In people with Insulin Resistance (IR) the excess carbohydrates consumed are converted into Triglycerides (TGL) in the liver. Over production of this TGL reduces the HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the LDL (bad cholesterol. It is considered bad because excess amount is not healthy). Triglycerides are found in dairy products, meat and cooking oils.

The next culprit is the Trans Fats. These are present in natural foods (dairy products, beef etc) and artificial transfats (vanaspati, pizza, burgers and many such processed foods). They affect our health in the same way as triglycerides do by increasing the bad cholesterol level and decreasing the good cholesterol level.

Thus the focus should be on a diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and fish with moderate protein intake and reducing processed carbohydrates (Eg: added sugars, refined grains etc).



High-fat meats like regular ground beef

High-fat dairy products such as full-fat cheese, cream, ice cream, whole milk,

Palm oil and palm kernel oil

Coconut and coconut oil

Poultry (chicken and turkey)

Avocado ,Canola oil

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and peanuts ,Olive oil and olives Peanut butter, Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.

High-fat dairy products

Egg yolks

Liver and other organ meats

Processed foods like snacks (crackers and chips) with hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil

Stick Margarines

French fries etc

*Source : American Diabetes Association

To make the long story short, advising the globe a low fat diet may add to the increased consumption of refined products, added sugars, trans fats etc. Even though eggs are high in cholesterol they are still low in saturated fat. However if you are so conscious about your cholesterol level simply enjoy eating egg white with fresh colourful vegetables and spices. Age, Insulin resistance and diabetes have a higher influence on predicting cardiovascular disease than lipid profile alone. Complete cessation of smoking, abstinence from alcohol, control of insulin resistance and following a Mediterranean diet with balanced fat than a low fat western diet is more appropriate in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease than controlling the dietary cholesterol intake.








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