Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol: cracking the myths around eggs and cardiovascular disease

Antoni R. Septemer 2023. Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol: cracking the myths around eggs and cardiovascular disease. Journal of Nutritional Science. doi: 10.1017/jns.2023.82


Whilst dietary cholesterol guidelines have waivered through the years with historic restrictions lifted for the majority of the general population, recommendations to reduce saturated fat intake have been the mainstay of dietary guidelines since the 1980s and were recently reinforced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Cholesterol metabolism is complex, with saturated fat known to have a more significant contribution at raising levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, it is clear from metabolic research that hyper-responsiveness to both dietary cholesterol and saturated fat exists; hence, for specific subsets of the population, reductions in both nutrients may be indicated. With this in mind, the current article aims to provide an overview of the mechanisms underlying biological variation in responsiveness and introduces research currently underway which will hopefully identify simple biomarkers that can be used to predict responsiveness and permit tailored, personalised, dietary advice. Eggs are a well-known source of dietary cholesterol whilst being low in saturated fat. A common question encountered in clinical practice is must individuals limit intake to manage blood cholesterol levels. This article summarises key recent papers which confirm that eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet, whilst highlighting the need for further research in certain population groups, e.g. in individuals with diabetes.

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