The advice many Americans have heeded over the years to limit cholesterol intake can now be disregarded, experts say. According to the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, guidance for adults to take in no more than 300 milligrams per day of cholesterol is not backed by scientific evidence. “Available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol,” wrote the committee, which was established jointly by the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The panel concluded that “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” HHS and USDA still have to approve this recommendation, but they typically follow the advisory committee’s advice.
The new advice is based on available scientific research, according to various news accounts. “In 2013, researchers published a systematic review of all studies from 2003 or after. Twelve met the researchers’ criteria for inclusion in the analysis, and seven of them controlled for background diet,” according to a New York Times column explaining the new guidance. “Most of the studies that controlled for background diet found that altering cholesterol consumption had no effect on the concentration of blood LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol. A few studies could detect differences only in small subgroups of people with certain genes or a predisposition to problems.”
Steven Nissen, MD, chair of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic and past president of the American College of Cardiology, agreed. "The panel went in the right direction," he told MedPage Today. "A lot of our traditional dietary advice was not based on the best science and needs to be reexamined."