Change in Dietary Guidelines for 2015

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eggs + spinachFor years, we were told to stay away from eggs, butter, shrimp… well anything that was high in fat and contained cholesterol, to protect heart health and prevent heart disease.

In the past, the U.S. dietary guidelines advised people to eat less than 300 milligrams (mg) per day of cholesterol, even though research had shown that cholesterol levels in food did not have much to do with cholesterol levels in your body.

Well things are about to change in the dietary guidelines for 2015!

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), a panel under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is about to release their 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and they are recommending that limits on dietary cholesterol be removed. According to Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen, “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.”

It appears that the heart health concern is shifting away from “dangers” of cholesterol and saturated fat and focusing on sugar as the biggest dietary threat. Over the 40 years where cholesterol has been the enemy and fat has been removed from processed foods, sugar has been added to enhance texture and flavor. Unfortunately, this has done more harm than good. Research shows sugar causes insulin resistance, high triglycerides, lowers HDL (good) cholesterol and increases LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also triggers the inflammation that research has shown is at the root of heart disease.

So does this mean that you have a green light for porterhouses, eggs and fried chicken? Not necessarily. High consumption of red and processed meats can lead to certain types of cancer, and a diet with less meat and more plant-based foods will reduce chronic and preventable diseases that account for almost 75% of healthcare costs. And although chicken, fish and eggs are great lean choices for protein, there are also plenty of non-animal protein choices as well, like nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Focusing on a plant-based diet is not only healthier for you, but is also associated with a much lower environmental impact the current U.S. diet.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023