Friday, 20 November 2015

The eating cholesterol blues

For some time now, the UK has dropped the recommendation that you should limit cholesterol intake, because there is no good evidence that consuming cholesterol has an impact on our blood cholesterol levels - which is why eggs are now considered good again. But it has taken a while longer for the US to catch up on this one. Now they have.

This was indirectly drawn to my attention as a result of a blog post comment. Back in 2009 I moaned about a radio ad featuring Gloria Hunniford in which the veteran presenter said 'A while ago I used to have high cholesterol,' (or words to that effect). I pointed out that saying 'A while ago I used to have...' was just repeating yourself. It should either be 'A while ago I had high cholesterol' or 'I used to have high cholesterol', but not both.

I've had a comment from Nicole Lascurain, the Assistant Marketing Manager of a US health firm pointing out that their website listed what '100% of your daily value of cholesterol looks like.' The page has various pictures of foods like friend chicken and cheese showing their cholesterol content, telling us that 'it's no secret that eating fatty foods raises your bad cholesterol levels'. Unfortunately, they're confusing cholesterol levels in the food with fat levels, which aren't the same thing. Yes, high fat levels, particularly transfats, push up your cholesterol levels, but eating cholesterol doesn't.

They based their 300mg a day limit on a genuine but out-of-date US standard. To quote the Scientific Report of the 2015 [US] Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:
Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report.

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