Health officials reconsider cholesterol restrictions - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Health officials reconsider cholesterol restrictions

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Sunny side up or scrambled? Whichever way you like them, you can now have them: eggs and certain other foods known for high cholesterol may no longer be limited by dietitians.

Every five years, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are due for an update, and the 2015 report could change the way people view cholesterol. 

The current report suggests people limit their intake to 300 milligrams a day, which is about one egg. WQOW spoke with a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic Health System who said health officials have tried to limit the amount of cholesterol we eat in the past because too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to heart disease, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is the leading cause of death for Americans.

Cholesterol in and of itself is not all bad. It is a substance that makes up some of the cells in the human body, and it is something that everyone needs function properly. 

So what health experts are finding now is that bodies are able to control and regulate the levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. What bodies have more trouble controlling is how saturated fat plays a role in raising those levels. "You have to watch or limit your saturated fat intake because that will raise your cholesterol levels in the blood, but people don't have to worry so much about just cholesterol itself in the food," said Dr. Regis Fernandes, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic Health System.

The list of foods high in cholesterol, but low in saturated fat, is small. Eggs, shellfish and liver are a few examples. Fatty cuts of meat or dairy products like cheese and ice cream made from whole milk are high in saturated fat, which still will not make the cut when it comes to recommending healthy eating choices. 

WQOW also spoke with the food service at the Eau Claire Area School District, who said they are used to changing things up to meet certain standards. The district is already ahead of the game when it comes to cholesterol because they do not monitor foods with cholesterol as much as they do with saturated and trans fats.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is putting together the 2015 report and experts do expect suggested cholesterol intake to change. 

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