Categories Medicinal Mythology

Medicinal Mythology: Dietary Cholesterol Is Bad For You?

Now this is less of a myth and more of a “we don’t have enough evidence” kind of thing, but it has been ongoing for decades and there is still no clear answer.

Because of the lack of evidence linking dietary cholesterol intake with LDL (bad) cholesterol, the brand new 2915 Dietary guidelines for 2015 posted on Health.gov say, and I quote:

Cholesterol. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The 2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation because available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, consistent with the conclusions of the AHA/ACC report. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

They are not the only one’s to say this either, a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of several studies involving over 362,000 people could not find a link between Dietary Cholesterol and Blood Cholesterol. And the Harvard Egg Study, published in 2009 also showed that eggs, which are high in cholesterol, did not show any indication of increased risk of cardiovascular death no matter how many were consumed. Another study with over 100,000 participants also shows that there is little evidence linking egg consumption to CVD (Cardiovascular Disease).

But that alone does not mean that eating eggs are healthy, or even that dietary cholesterol is good for you. The American Heart Association wrote this on their blog:

“We don’t have enough information to put a limit on cholesterol,” said Eckel, a past president of the AHA and a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t restrict it — it means we don’t have enough information to make a strong statement.”

Eckel called for a continued focus on eating a healthy diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy and that limits sodium, sugar and red meat, recommendations put forth in the AHA’s 2013 lifestyle guidelines.

So while limiting cholesterol might be a good idea, there is very little evidence as of yet that dietary cholesterol is contributed to Cardiovascular Disease, or an increase in LDL serum cholesterol, regardless of how controversial this information is to health bloggers.