​Everything you knew about cholesterol could change

Last Updated Feb 11, 2015 11:05 AM EST

Here we go again. Experts are changing their recommendations about what we should and shouldn't eat. A government advisory panel has decided Americans shouldn't worry about too much cholesterol in their diets.

The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services will use the advisory committee's report to write the final version of updated dietary guidelines by the end of this year.

The panel says cholesterol is no longer a "nutrient of concern." But that does not mean you can start eating all those fatty high cholesterol foods again, says CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

"There's never a free lunch or dinner. Because it turns out the foods that are high in cholesterol are also high in other bad things like saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugars, things like that," LaPook said.

The updated guidelines are based on a better scientific understanding of how cholesterol works.

"The amount of cholesterol in your blood is still important," LaPook explained. "So the higher the cholesterol -- the bad cholesterol -- the higher the risk of heart attack and other problems like that. But what the committee found was that the amount of cholesterol in your food doesn't necessarily translate into a higher level of cholesterol in your blood."

Overall, the revised dietary guidelines are expected to stick to some classic advice: eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and eat less saturated fats, salt and sugar.

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook