In other times denuded, now no one pays any attention. We talk about cholesterol present in food. You do not have to be confused anymore with the cholesterol that circulates in our blood. We have to keep it under control because it is one of the main factors involved in our cardiovascular risk.
Cholesterol in Food is No Longer Bad
Cholesterol is present exclusively in foods of animal origin such as eggs, brains and viscera, sausages, seafood, etc. Not long ago, it was believed that cholesterol in foods was directly related to cholesterol circulating in our blood (a relationship that may seem, to some extent, logical). It seems to be, according to the new evidence found on the subject, that the contribution that can have the alimentary cholesterol to our sanguine cholesterol and therefore, to our cardiovascular risk is minimal.
Now we can remove cholesterol from our blacklist. This fact is joined to all the existing flutter in the world of fat. It is certainly disconcerting for anyone to witness such upheavals as to the messages from health authorities and scientists about what healthy eating should be and what foods should be part of a balanced diet. But it is the price that we have to pay for the scientific method which never rests and is always attentive to new evidence even if it is at the cost of loading those now in forces.
New American diet guides
The first “official” sample of public cholesterol absolution appears in the new American dietary guidelines that have recently seen the light. These guidelines will govern the food designs of Americans (though their influence is planetary) over the next five years. In the previous edition in 2010, it was recommended to limit the daily consumption of cholesterol present in foods to 300 mg, however, in the current edition, no mention is made of any limit.
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It is recommended to limit the calories that come from saturated fats to 10% of the total calories in the diet. This recommendation is not easy to interpret, although it can be simplified by translating it as reducing the consumption of fat present in foods of animal origin. Until now saturated fats have been considered the main food factor related to the increase of blood cholesterol (and therefore of cardiovascular risk), although this fact is also somewhat in question. Surely the American health authorities seemed too transgressive to eliminate the restrictions of consumption of saturated fats.
Another restriction that appears in the guidelines is to limit the consumption of added sugars to 10% of the total caloric value of the diet (we may already qualify sugar as the new food demon). This would represent in an average diet of 2,500 calories something more than 60 g of sugar, a very easy to reach amount due to the almost ubiquitous presence of sugar in the foods we found in the super. Finally, the recommendations also want to limit consumption of intake salt, leaving its consumption at just over 6 grams a day and alcohol (at most one drinks a day for women and two for men). While setting the limits mentioned, the new guidelines want to focus on patterns of food consumption rather than specific limits for food or nutrients, often difficult to interpret by the consumer. In this way, we want to encourage the consumption of vegetables, fruits, pulses, whole grains, nuts, fish, lean meats, eggs, skim milk and oils to the detriment of refined and processed foods with excessive fat, sugar and salt content.
So how to control blood cholesterol
Well, it has become clear that cholesterol in foods does not influence our cholesterol and that there is some controversy about fats. So what to eat to control cholesterol? For, surely, it is a point where the new American guides are right: to speak more of eating patterns than of limits and of specific foods. If our diet is based primarily on foods of plant origin and foods refined and processed as described and increase our physical activity, in addition to maintaining a healthy weight, we will have our cholesterol at bay.
In any case, and for all the years we’ve kept it blacklisted, let’s ask for forgiveness for cholesterol.