February 12, 2015

For years, nutritionists and researchers have been playing down the link between dietary cholesterol, found in foods like eggs, and blood cholesterol, the kind that hardens arteries. Now new federal dietary guidelines may sever that link for good.

Government nutritionists may be ready to jettison decades of nutritional advice that warned against consuming foods high in cholesterol, according to a document presented in December to a U.S. government committee developing new dietary guidelines. It was unearthed by the Washington Post Feb. 11.

(Learn more about dietary cholesterol and how to keep your heart healthy.)

According to the document, “Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption,” for Americans.

It also warns that Americans are still consuming too much sodium while taking in less than recommended levels of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Older Americans may be eating too much saturated fat, and adolescent and premenopausal females are taking in too little iron.

(These eight foods can lower your blood cholesterol levels.)

Federal dietary guidelines, revised every five years, are put together jointly by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. A subcommittee appointed the two departments expects to release dietary recommendations in the next few weeks. Those recommendations, which will go through a period of public comment before being finalized, are the basis of federal food and nutrition policy and education initiatives.

Which of these recommendations the subcommittee will adopt into its dietary guidelines is still to be determined, but it’s a good bet that dietary cholesterol won’t be a major concern in the new guidelines.

Read more about the document and reaction at Time.com and how dietary cholesterol may be an issue for people with chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

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