New dietary guidelines put out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) state that Americans should no longer be worried about eating high-cholesterol foods like egg yolks and shellfish. However, some experts in the nutrition field, such the chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, are afraid that this new guideline is sending a mixed message about how people should view fats in their daily eating.
Experts make it clear that although it is okay to eat high-cholesterol foods, it is important that they have low amounts of saturated fat. When saturated fat is digested in the body, it is moved to the liver where it is changed into “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can raise your heart disease risk. Foods that are high in saturated fat that should be limited as part of a heart healthy eating plan include:
- Fatty meats, especially if they are processed
- Fried foods
- Processed baked goods
- Candies with hydrogenated oils
Instead, try to focus on including more heart healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish. A moderate amount of healthy fats each day, along with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, such as that found in a Greek-style meal plan, can lower cholesterol levels in the blood and lower your risk of heart disease over the long term. So feel free to eat high-cholesterol foods, but just make sure those foods are full of healthy fats so you can be sure you are eating for a healthy heart.