What Do Changed Cholesterol Recommendations And Other Dietary Guidelines Mean?

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Let's talk about food. The big news this month about what we should eat and why has to do with cholesterol.

The Federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made significant changes to its recommended "healthy" diets. The panel now says it doesn't really matter how much cholesterol or unsaturated fats you eat.

They've backed away from previously recommended low-fat diets. Instead, they urge Americans to eat more fats found in fish, nuts, olive and vegetable oils. The panel also urged people to drastically cut back on added sugars and salt in their food.

But the key takeaway is this: the new recommendations acknowledges years of scientific evidence that shows almost no relationship between how much cholesterol you eat, and your LDL readings — the levels of so-called bad cholesterol in your blood. We spend some time really understanding this change, given that these recommendations go on to shape official federal dietary guidelines, and that affects how millions of Americans eat.


Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University and vice-chair of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Corby Kummer, James Beard Award-winning senior editor at The Atlantic. He tweets @CKummer.


The New York Times: Nutrition Panel Calls For Less Sugar and Eases Cholesterol And Fat Restrictions

  • "A nutrition advisory panel that helps shape the country’s official dietary guidelines eased some of its previous restrictions on fat and cholesterol on Thursday and recommended sharp new limits on the amount of added sugar that Americans should consume."

The New York Times: The Government’s Bad Diet Advice

  • "For two generations, Americans ate fewer eggs and other animal products because policy makers told them that fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Now both dogmas have been debunked in quick succession."

This segment aired on February 23, 2015.


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