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article imageNew U.S. diet guidelines — 'Don't worry about cholesterol'

By Karen Graham     Feb 11, 2015 in Health
The country's top diet and nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop cholesterol warnings, considering cholesterol to not be a "nutrient of concern." This decision stands in sharp contrast to Dietary Guidelines issued for the last 40 years.
The first set of Dietary Guidelines was issued in 1980. In 1990, it was mandated that the guidelines for a healthy diet for Americans be updated every five years as part of a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
To review the scientific data and recommendations of health experts, a committee was appointed, consisting of nutritional and health specialists, whose sole purpose was to determine what was good and bad for the American public to consume. So this year, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is attempting to push the American public toward making healthier choices, rather than focusing on cholesterol.
This is not to say cholesterol is completely safe to eat in large amounts, because having it clog arteries is still a significant health threat. It's just the amount a person might consume that is not going to be restricted. This has come about because of a new way of thinking about the diets of healthy adults. It has been found that there is no significant rise in serum cholesterol levels when eating a diet high in this nutrient.
The emphasis is on eating good nutrients
Actually, when you think about it for a few minutes, the change from telling us what we can't eat, to emphasizing what healthy foods we should be eating is a much better way to get people interested in a healthy diet. As a matter of fact, the DGAC is more concerned about the under-consumption of good nutrients, pointing out that Vitamin D, Vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and fiber are under-consumed across the entire U.S. population.
It should be noted that for people with health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and high levels of "bad" cholesterol, it is advised that they continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets and to follow their doctor's advice. It's interesting to note that cholesterol guidelines have been part of the American diet, in one way or another since the 1960s, when the American Heart Association developed dietary guidelines.
But it wasn't until the federal government adopted the same guidelines that any significant shift in our diets occurred. The first people to feel the effects of the federal guidelines were egg farmers. Consumption of eggs dropped a whopping 30 percent. But still, scientists continue to be divided.
For those of you wondering if new dietary guidelines on the consumption of foods with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter are ever going to be addressed, according to the DGAC, they are looking at modifying those guidelines next. Tim Sandle wrote an interesting commentary today entitled "Op-Ed: Butter or margarine: Can the debate be resolved?" In the article, Sandle points to the conflicting views held by the medical community on the issues of saturated fats, trans fats and unsaturated fats. So we will wait and see what the government decides on fats in our diet.
Eggs Macronutrient Breakdown | FindTheBest
More about Cholesterol, USDA, dietary guidelines for 2015, nutrient of concern, inadequate evidence
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