New dietary guideline reverses 40 year old advice on cholesterol


Eating food with cholesterol is bad for you. This “fact” was “known” for long and Americans lived by it for two generations. This is part of the guideline that was given earlier by Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. These guidelines have a far reaching effect – they shape the menu of the school lunch program that feeds more than 30 million children every day, affect the dietary advice by doctors and are incorporated into national food assistance program such as WIC and SNAP. And just when you thought that everything is under control, the government says that it might have been bad advice. It turns out that Americans have been needlessly avoiding egg yolk, liver and shellfish for years.

According to The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol:

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.

The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.

How did that happen? Washington Post says:

The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The Government’s Bad Diet Advice has a much better explanation than this:

..the primary problem is that nutrition policy has long relied on a very weak kind of science: epidemiological, or “observational,” studies in which researchers follow large groups of people over many years. But even the most rigorous epidemiological studies suffer from a fundamental limitation. At best they can show only association, not causation. Epidemiological data can be used to suggest hypotheses but not to prove them.

Instead of accepting that this evidence was inadequate to give sound advice, strong-willed scientists overstated the significance of their studies.


It’s possible that a mostly meatless diet could be healthy for all Americans — but then again, it might not be. We simply do not know. There are no rigorous clinical trials on such a diet, and although epidemiological data exists for adult vegetarians, there is none for children.

What that means is that there is really no solid science behind these nutritional recommendations.

So what are you supposed to do? The article says:

..we would be wise to return to what worked better for previous generations: a diet that included fewer grains, less sugar and more animal foods like meat, full-fat dairy and eggs. That would be a decent start.

In other words, talk to your grandfather. Ask him if he knows what his grandfather ate. Make a list of it and follow that as your eating guideline.