Yep! Despite years of being told that we should avoid eating eggs (both seen and unseen in the foods we eat) because of the high amount of cholesterol in the yolks, experts now say that the cholesterol in foods is NOT what causes the increased amount of cholesterol in blood that leads to heart disease.
In the past several years, healthcare experts who publish guidelines for the prevention of heart disease have changed from focusing so much on “expert opinion” and have been looking for scientific “evidence” for recommendations. The change about whether or not we need to limit our intake of dietary cholesterol (e.g., from eggs and organ meats particularly) came first when the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) published the 2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. This 45 page detailed document does not even mention the word “egg” and has no recommendation to limit the number of milligrams of dietary cholesterol one should eat daily. These experts just could not find evidence to support the restriction. NOTE: This does NOT mean that the company that eggs often keep are now go-to foods. Foods that are high in saturated fat and/or trans-fat DO need to be restricted as they do lead to increases in the amount of cholesterol in blood that can feed the artery clogging cardiovascular disease process.
This year, even more experts are weighing in. For example, in February the US Department of Agriculture’s Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, those who make dietary recommendations for all Americans, also looked into the science related to dietary cholesterol. The authors use a term called “nutrient of concern” and explain that this means the nutrient “may pose a substantial public health concern” or “some level of risk” for the US population. The report states that dietary cholesterol is NOT one of these nutrients of concern and does not suggest a limit. The report IS clear to state, however, that saturated fat IS a nutrient of concern and should be limited.
In addition to the AHA, ACC, and USDA updates on dietary cholesterol, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has just released an update related to prevention of cardiovascular disease in patients with known diabetes that was published jointly with the AHA. So now the ADA also no longer recommends avoiding eggs or restricting dietary cholesterol. The concern over saturated fat still exists…sooo, Yep! Eggs with your garden salad, eggs in a veggie omelet, eggs and whole wheat toast, all are go-to foods. Just don’t team them up with red and processed meats, full fat cheeses, and other foods high in saturated fat. Enjoy!