Eggs and Cholesterol – Myth DebunkedHealth & Nutrition
It’s official – the 2015-2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer include a limit for dietary cholesterol. 1 Plus, eggs are included in each of the three healthy eating patterns recommended by the new guidelines. This is in line with decades of scientific evidence.
Research has shown that the cholesterol found in foods we eat has relatively little impact on blood cholesterol. In fact, most of the cholesterol circulating in our blood is made by the liver.
Following the input of experts, this long-overdue change in position on dietary cholesterol was formally released by the U.S. government on January 7, 2016.
In 2015, the report of the Scientific Advisory Committee stated the evidence shows no appreciable relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.2 In addition, they determined that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.
The previous U.S. recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol was first introduced by the American Heart Association (AHA) in the 1960s. However, in 2013, the AHA also acknowledged the lack of evidence to support their previous limit. 3 Thus, the latest AHA lifestyle guidelines to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke do not include a limit for dietary cholesterol. 3
It is worth noting that Health Canada was years ahead in recognizing the scientific evidence showing that dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol in the general population. 4 In fact, experts in Canada, the U.S. and other countries challenged the scientific basis for the previous U.S. recommendations to limit dietary cholesterol for many years. 5-8
The new U.S. dietary guidelines aim to help American’s adopt healthier eating habits to help promote healthy weights and reduce the burden of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The guidelines encourage Americans to meet their nutritional needs with healthy eating patterns focused on nutrient-dense foods. They emphasize the importance of eating a variety of wholesome, naturally nutritious foods, including protein-rich foods such as eggs.
Eggs are an excellent choice for healthy eating with 14 essential nutrients, including high quality protein. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2 eggs as a serving.
It’s also good to know that most of the fat found in an egg is considered healthy fat because it is unsaturated.
Nutrition Wise Communications
1.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
2.Available at Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
3.AHA/ACC. 2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk.
4.Health Canada. Scientific Summary on the U. S. Health Claim Regarding Dietary Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Trans Fatty Acids and Coronary Heart Disease. May 2000. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/claims-reclam/assess-evalu/fat_heart_gras_coeur-eng.php (Accessed May 14, 2015).
5.McDonald BE. The Canadian Experience: Why Canada Decided Against an Upper Limit for Cholesterol. J Am Coll Nutr 2004; 23(6):S616–20.
6.National Institute of Nutrition. Dietary Fat and Cholesterol: Lessons from the Past Decade. NIN Review 2004; Ottawa, Canada.
7.Fernandez ML and Calle M. Revisiting dietary cholesterol recommendations: does the evidence support a limit of 300 mg/d? Curr Atheroscler Rep 2010; 12(6):377-83.
8.Gray J and Griffin B. Eggs and dietary cholesterol – dispelling the myth 2009 British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin 2009; 34:66–70.
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