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Dietary Cholesterol & Your Health

TrafficSwarm member since April 2008

Written by:

Eliezer Archange, RD, LD/N

Nutrition Consulting Services LLC





No point to say that the comments on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has been confusing for many people.  For a long time, we have told that a high cholesterol diet can lead to high serum cholesterol in the blood and that people suffering hypercholesterolemia.  On May 8, 2015, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published the following statement: “The Academy supports the decision by the 2015 DGAC not to carry forward previous recommendations that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day, as <available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.”  What does that mean to you?

What is Cholesterol & Why Do We Need It?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in our cells and some of the foods that we eat.  Even though most people think of cholesterol only in a negative way, cholesterol actually plays a very important role in the functioning of the body.  Cholesterol helps with the production of hormones, the creation of bile for digestive purpose, and acts as building blocks for our cells.

They are carried throughout our body with the help of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also referred to as bad cholesterol and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and known as “good cholesterol.”




As noted by the American Heart Association, “Excess level of LDL cholesterol can form plaque between layers of the artery walls, making it harder for your heart to circulate blood. Plaque can break open and cause blood clots. If a clot blocks an artery that feeds the brain, it causes a stroke. If it blocks an artery that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack.” 

HDL, however, carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver to be removed from the body.  An epidemiological study, published by the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, links HDL function with lower risk of later heart disease.  .  It is, thus, very important that you know your total cholesterol, your LDL, and HDL cholesterols

Dietary Cholesterol and High Blood Cholesterol

According to several studies, contrary to what was previously believed, eating cholesterol-rich foods has little to no impact on the levels of blood cholesterol.   As mentioned in our introduction, DGAC has recommended that the limits on dietary cholesterol to be removed from the upcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  As pointed out by Dr. Nissen, only 20 percent of your blood cholesterol levels come from your diet while 80% is produced by your liver.  The biggest influence on blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet—not the amount of cholesterol you eat from food (Harvard University, School of Public Health)

Tips to Choosing Foods with Healthy Fats

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Use Olive, canola, and other plant-based oils for cooking and baking

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Identify and avoid trans-fat

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Increase omega-3 in your diet such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, canola or soybean oil, or flaxseed oil

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Select and eat lean meat

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->Avoid diet high in refined carbohydrates









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