The big news in health nutrition circles is that the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for America will no longer vilify cholesterol. Published every 5 years since 1980 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the guidelines reflect the most current nutrition science with a good dose of politics.
The current recommendation is to limit cholesterol consumption to no more than 300 milligrams per day. This limitation will likely be removed. To understand why, read on.
Cholesterol is fatty waxy substance that occurs in all animal tissues.
In humans: It is produced in the liver and travels around the body in our blood. This is called blood cholesterol. The human body manufactures 3000 mg (three thousand milligrams) of cholesterol a day. People need cholesterol to maintain cell membrane structure, but too much of it circulating in the blood may lead to heart disease.
In food: Only food from animal sources has cholesterol. This includes meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. An egg, for example, has 200mg of dietary cholesterol.
In the past 15 years, studies have shown that for most people, blood cholesterol levels are barely influenced by dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol in food), but rather by saturated fats and trans-fats in the food. Does this mean we can eat 3 eggs a day? Probably not, because eggs and other foods high in cholesterol can also have high levels of saturated fat.