Association between Dietary Cholesterol and Their Food Sources and Risk for Hypercholesterolemia: The 2012⁻2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 15;11(4):846. doi: 10.3390/nu11040846.


It remains unclear whether cholesterol intake can increase serum cholesterol. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the hypothesis that the risk for hypercholesterolemia was not associated with intake of dietary cholesterol after adjusting for saturated fatty acid (SFA). Based on the data from the 2012-2016 KNHANES, dietary cholesterol was positively associated with the risk for abnormalities in total cholesterol (TC) (odds ratio (OR): 1.153, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.995-1.337; p = 0.028) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (OR: 1.186, 95% CI: 1.019-1.382; p = 0.018) levels before adjusting for SFA; after adjusting for SFA, no significant associations were found between these variables. The mediation analysis showed that dietary cholesterol had no direct effects on the serum levels of TC and LDL-C; in contrast, SFA had significant indirect effects on the association between dietary cholesterol and serum levels of TC and LDL-C. Furthermore, processed meats, but not eggs and other meats, were positively associated with the risk for abnormalities in both TC (OR: 1.220, 95% CI: 1.083-1.374; p = 0.001) and LDL-C (OR: 1.193, 95% CI: 1.052-1.354; p = 0.004) levels. The present study suggested that higher intake of processed meats with high SFA, but not dietary cholesterol was associated with higher risk for abnormalities in TC and LDL-C levels.

Keywords: dietary cholesterol; egg; hypercholesterolemia; processed meat; saturated fatty acid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Odds Ratio
  • Republic of Korea


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids