Love to eat eggs? U.S. panel now says they’re not a health risk

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Reuters) — Egg and red meat lovers may find reason to rejoice in a decision by a U.S. advisory health panel to remove warnings about dietary cholesterol.

The panel says there is no link to dangerous levels of blood cholesterol that cause disease.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee had recommended that cholesterol intake be limited to 300 milligrams per day, about the amount in two eggs.

After reviewing scores of studies that showed no correlation between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, which is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol present in the blood, the committee determined that cholesterol was not “a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

For decades, health and government officials warned against consumption of high-cholesterol food, such as red meat and eggs, saying they greatly increased the risk of heart disease and obesity.

However, many doctors and nutritionists now say there is no link between dietary cholesterol and dangerous levels of cholesterol in the blood that cause disease.

“Many of us for a long time have believed the dietary guidelines were pointing in the wrong direction,” Steven Nissen, chair of the Cleveland Clinic’s cardiovascular medicine department.

“It is long overdue.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use the advisory committee’s report to write the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a blueprint that outlines the ideal American diet and is updated every five years.

In another change of course, the committee recommended three diets that comprise more than 30 percent fat: a healthy diet based on U.S. food, the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet.

Several studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes protein, whole grain and food high in “good” fats such as olive oil, avocados and nuts, lowers the risk of heart disease.

As has been the case for years, the report found that most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Most diets are too high in calories and refined grains, such as white bread and pasta, saturated fat, added sugars and salt, the committee wrote.

The report is followed by a 45-day public comment period, and final guidelines are due later this year.

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