The news is out and it is indeed a good one. The limit on dietary cholesterol has been removed. The dietary cholesterol limits had been thought as the controlling factor for raising LDL cholesterol limits and increasing the risks associated with heart diseases. Numerous researches spread over several decades could not substantiate this correlation. Hence the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has categorically said that cholesterol is no more a nutrient of concern if consumed in excess. But what exactly does this mean? What about saturated fats and trans fats? Poona Preventive Cardiology Center, one of the pioneers in providing heart blockage treatment without surgery explains in detail about this new dietary relaxation and answers the associated questions.

Dietary Cholesterol limit: In the past, the upper limit of dietary cholesterol was fixed at 300 milligram per day, which roughly translated into two eggs. The relaxation of this upper limit is based on the strong recommendations of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. Their argument is two folded. Firstly, Cholesterol plays a crucial role in brain development, cell building, and the production of Vitamin D. Secondly, none of the research pin points to the elevation of heart disease risks due to dietary cholesterol. What does this relaxation of limit means? Food items such as eggs, shrimps, and lobsters that are high in cholesterol but lean in saturated fats are good for health.

Basis for relaxation: Nobody is arguing the facts that serum cholesterol and higher serum LDL are some of the risk factor associated cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The real questions were whether consumption of high cholesterol food leads to higher LDL or lowering the intake of dietary cholesterol reduces LDL. The answers for both the questions were a big ‘NO’.

Saturated and Trans fats: DGAC has categorically said that saturated and Trans fats do raise the LDL limits and enhance the risk of CVD and hence both these fat types are stamped as the “nutrient of concern for overconsumption”. It is also proven that the decrease in intake of Trans and saturated fats lessens the chances of CVD.

But the main problem is that most of the cholesterol rich foods contain high levels of saturated fats too. Under any circumstances, it should not be construed that consumption of cholesterol rich food will nullify the ill effects of saturated fats. Hence care should be taken to avoid saturated fats.

It should be clearly understood that body produces its own cholesterol and it does not need the external supply of it through dietary foods. As conditions such as obesity, age, and genetics contribute in elevating the cholesterol levels, it is always advisable to limit the dietary cholesterol and avoid angioplasty, bypass surgery, and associated complications. As this

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