Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. For years, dietary cholesterol was implicated in increasing blood cholesterol levels leading to the elevated risk of CVD. To date, extensive research did not show evidence to support a role of dietary cholesterol in the development of CVD. As a result, the 2015⁻2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans removed the recommendations of restricting dietary cholesterol to 300 mg/day. This review summarizes the current literature regarding dietary cholesterol intake and CVD. It is worth noting that most foods that are rich in cholesterol are also high in saturated fatty acids and thus may increase the risk of CVD due to the saturated fatty acid content. The exceptions are eggs and shrimp. Considering that eggs are affordable and nutrient-dense food items, containing high-quality protein with minimal saturated fatty acids (1.56 gm/egg) and are rich in several micronutrients including vitamins and minerals, it would be worthwhile to include eggs in moderation as a part of a healthy eating pattern. This recommendation is particularly relevant when individual’s intakes of nutrients are suboptimal, or with limited income and food access, and to help ensure dietary intake of sufficient nutrients in growing children and older adults.
Keywords: HMG CoA reductase; LDL and HDL; LDL-cholesterol; cardiovascular disease (CVD); dietary cholesterol; observational studies; randomized control trials (RCT).