Every 5 years, the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services jointly release Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is significant on a global perspective because much of the media, journalism and even other national dietary recommendations are influenced by the American guidelines. The guidelines have a wide reach, influencing schools, government agencies, military, food assistance programs, government subsidies, agricultural production, restaurant recipes and industry food formulations .
The Old Guidelines:
Until recently, dietary recommendations around the world emphasized the importance of reducing cholesterol. There were limitations to the amount of cholesterol one must consume. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology were making these recommendations without conclusive evidence , and following the dietary guidelines put forth by these American agencies mentioned above.
The current, updated Guidelines:
After decades of the old guidelines, in 2015, new American guidelines were introduced. The emphasis for heart health shifted from avoiding cholesterol to limiting sugar intake .
The advisory panels stated “available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption” .
They continue “Reducing total fat (replacing total fat with overall carbohydrates) does not lower CVD risk. Dietary advice should put the emphasis on optimizing types of dietary fat and not reducing total fat” .
Huge Change, but No Announcement
These quiet statements reversed 45 years of dietary advise. This advise was ingrained into the minds of doctors, government agencies and people like you and me. Between 2015 and today, many doctors still abide by the outdated guidelines, and patients are confused.
Doctors had long assessed heart health on a cholesterol number, particularly LDL (what they deem to be ‘bad’ cholesterol). These new guidelines advise doctors to assess other factors and “physicians now have to shift their thinking away from only looking at cholesterol levels”.
Cholesterol is now officially deemed to be good. Dietary guidelines suddenly changed in 2015 and explicitly stated cholesterol and dietary fat are not of concern for heart disease. We must focus on good, balanced nutrition.
Interested in learning more?
Read on in our series of articles on Heart Health!
About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann is a licensed naturopathic doctor and co-owner of Absolute Health and Wellness. He completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.
His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.
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