Washington D.C.—After almost 40 years of being deemed a “nutrient of concern,” the country’s top nutrition advisory panel, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, is considering dropping warnings regarding the consumption of cholesterol, in contrast to its findings five years ago. The findings then cautioned against consuming more than 300 milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol, approximately the amount in one egg. The Committee is responsible for the scientific basis for the government’s “Dietary Guidelines” publication, which has wide reaching effects on how Americans perceive diet and dietary choices. Important to note is that the committee is not reversing previous warnings on high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which is linked to heart disease and other conditions.
While a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) said the committee is withholding any comment until the release of its report to the federal government for use as a basis for the Guidelines, coverage of the upcoming decision in The Washington Post showed that several nutritional experts are in favor of the change. This largely stems from research showing that cholesterol intake may not significantly impact cholesterol blood levels or heart disease risk in healthy adults. Instead, added sugar, like that found in sodas, sugary drinks, and even condiments like ketchup, may end up being one of the committee's major targets. Americans on average get 13% of their daily calories from added sugar. The advisory panel’s input will ultimately be sent to HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the final set of Dietary Guidelines due by the end of this year.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015(online 2/11/15)