Your diet clearly plays a role in determining your cholesterol levels, but if you’re like most people; the most important factor isn’t how much cholesterol-rich food you eat.
Rather, it’s what else you eat. Figuring this out has been a learning process.
Initially, the news that cholesterol in the bloodstream was linked to heart disease prompted an all-out war on cholesterol in food.
From the 1960s on, people were advised to stay away from foods rich in cholesterol; like eggs, dairy foods, and some types of seafood. But today, the science suggests that, for most people; dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol in foods) has only a modest effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
In fact, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans eliminated an earlier recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol; to 300 milligrams (mg) per day—although they still suggest caution on overall intake.
Notably, the guidelines did not change the recommendation on saturated fat; which is found mainly in animal-based foods such as meat and dairy—and is often found in high-cholesterol foods.
Saturated fat in the diet clearly does raise LDL; by a significant amount and should still be consumed in limited quantities.
And although some research has cast doubt on the conventional wisdom that saturated fat is linked with heart disease; other research upholds the link.