MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Something many of us have been trying to avoid is now okay to eat.
The nation's top nutrition panel is dropping its guidelines about avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol.
The new finding by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee means that cholesterol is no longer listed as a "nutrient of concern."
It's a move that reverses nearly 40 years of government warnings about cholesterol-rich foods.
Researchers now believe that eating foods like eggs, butter, steaks, shrimp and lobster may not significantly impact the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.
They reviewed the clinical trials that were used in the 1970s and 80s as the basis for warnings about cholesterol and found that the evidence just didn't add up.
Cholesterol is coming off the naughty list when it comes to nutrients in foods.
Katie Vigessa is a registered dietitian with Nutritional Weight and Wellness.
"They are starting to recognize this ban we've had on cholesterol for 40 to 50 years really wasn't as necessary as we thought it once was," Vigessa said.
She said the government report falls in line with what many dietitians already believed to be true based on other studies over the years.
"So we are starting to make this shift toward, 'It is okay to have eggs,'" she said. "You don't have to only eat the whites. You can eat the egg yolk. It's a fantastic, beautiful thing."
Nutritionists who've weighed in on the new report say the health warnings about cholesterol all these years caused people to shift to foods high in carbohydrates and sugar.
"So what happened was we got inundated with all this high sugar, high carbohydrate eating and, really, that's created a lot of the inflammation and heart disease [and obesity] in our system," Vigessa said.
Doctors say that people with diabetes and other health problems should still be careful about consuming too much cholesterol, and all of us should be wary of foods high in trans fats.
"We are finally realizing that it's not the cholesterol in our food that's the problem," Vigessa said. "It's really the trans fats, the refined oils that are at the root of a lot of the heart problems."
So what should we eat? Lots of vegetables and fruits and lean meats, like chicken and fish, and whole grains.
Vigessa said to keep in mind that it's your liver that produces the largest level of cholesterol in the blood, and this new report indicates that may be a bigger factor in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level than the foods you eat.
As for those trans fats, she said they are in foods like those flavored coffee creamers many of us love, in commercial baked goods like muffins and doughnuts, and in chips and crackers.
This report is great news for people who love eggs.
There are lots of benefits in egg yolks. Vigessa said they're considered liquid gold. Full of nutrients that are good for our brain and something called choline which is great for our memory.
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