US Nutrition Panel Says Cholesterol Isn't Bad (But Sugar Still Is)

To eat the yolk, or not to eat the yolk, that is the question.

We've heard for years to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol — like eggs — because they're bad for our heart health. But now, that's all changing.

A new report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, an independent group of 14 experts advising Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which convenes every five years, says that we should ease up on sugar and saturated fats, but we don't need to worry so much about cholesterol anymore.

According to the report, about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. And what's perhaps even worse is that about half of American adults — about 117 million people — have preventable chronic diseases related to poor diet and physical inactivity.

In order to combat this staggering rate, the guidelines discourage getting any more than 10% of our total daily calories from saturated fat — but they don't recommend against cutting down on total fat as they have so fervently in the past.

"Available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and [blood] cholesterol," the report said.

Also, for the first time, the committee is recommending that the government consider sustainability when telling Americans what they should eat. They note that a diet that's better for the environment is high in plant-based foods and lower in calories and animal-based foods, like, for example, the Mediterranean diet.

In another first, the committee addressed a major staple in so many of our diets: coffee, saying that there is strong evidence that moderate consumption is not associated with long-term health risks.

The proposal is 571 pages long, but the guidelines can be summed up in the following excerpt:

The U.S. population should be encouraged and guided to consume dietary patterns that are rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual's biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.

In simpler terms: Eat more plants. Eat less meat. Eat that yolk. And, most importantly, enjoy.

(h/t TIME)

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