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Are Eggs Bad For Cholesterol? 3 Myths On Eggs and Cholesterol, Debunked

Are Eggs Bad For Cholesterol? 3 Myths On Eggs and Cholesterol, Debunked

Eggs are low in calories but high in protein. They also contain vitamins and minerals, such as iron, which is good for the blood; carotenoids, which are antioxidants; and lutein and zeaxanthin, which help fight diseases. Not only are eggs affordable and tasty, they are also versatile. You can have them hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, or added into different meals. The only “downside” to eggs, according to some people, is that they are high in cholesterol. But, are eggs bad for cholesterol?

This article dispels some myths about eggs, heart disease, and cholesterol.

Myth #1 Eggs Increase the Risk of Heart Diseases

If you’ve had cholesterol problems for a while now, you’ve probably heard some people say that eggs increase the risk of heart diseases. However, recent studies disprove this claim.

For instance, a study involving 177,000 people from 50 countries reveal that egg intake has no significant associations with major cardiovascular disease events and death rates1.

A 2019 study likewise noted that eggs are not associated with ischemic heart disease. Interestingly, the researchers also mentioned that substituting processed and red meats with fish, dairy, and eggs may reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease2.

According to experts, there may be other reasons why some studies relate egg consumption with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Case in point: Other foods that people eat eggs with, such as bacon and sausages, are rich in saturated fats. Additionally, cooking eggs in unhealthy oils and butter may also have something to do with increased heart disease risk.

Myth #2 Eggs Are Bad for Cholesterol

Now, let’s try to answer the question, Are eggs bad for cholesterol?

People with high cholesterol often steer clear of eggs or consume only the egg white because researchers previously thought dietary cholesterol directly affects blood cholesterol.

However, recent development shows that egg consumption doesn’t seem to affect cholesterol levels.

The study involving 177,000 participants, for instance, noted that eggs have no association with cholesterol levels. And while a report showed that egg consumption could marginally increase total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels, it also revealed an increase in the level of good cholesterol.

Myth #3 You Shouldn’t Eat More Than 3 Eggs a Week

Now that we have a better idea of the answer to the question, are eggs bad for cholesterol?, let’s talk about limits.

In 1968, the American Heart Association recommended three egg yolks a week, but that’s no longer the case now.

Reports say that while eggs are rich in cholesterol, they are also convenient for getting protein, vitamins, and minerals. Moreover, eggs only contain about 8% of our daily allowance for saturated fats, which indicates that it’s one of the “high cholesterol foods to eat.”

As for limits, it depends. If you’re healthy, an egg a day will not increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, people with high cholesterol should consider sticking to four egg yolks a week.

Final Reminders

Are eggs bad for cholesterol? It depends on what you eat them with and how you cook them. Avoid or limit foods that are high in saturated fats, such as processed foods and red meat. Furthermore, choose healthy preparations (poached, hard-boiled, etc.)

The number of eggs might also matter if you already have high cholesterol, so asking your doctor about limits will be helpful.

For instance, if they advise you to limit your cholesterol intake to 200 mg daily, remember that an egg yolk typically has 186 mg already. On the other hand, Egg whites are protein-rich but cholesterol-free, so you can have more of them.

Finally, remember that compared to your egg consumption, your overall diet matters more. So have plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and dairy.

Learn more about Cholesterol here.

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Sources

Soliman, G. (2018). Dietary cholesterol and the lack of evidence in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients, 10(6), 780. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060780

Consumption of meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs and risk of ischemic heart disease. (2019, June 18). Circulation. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038813

Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol? (2020, January 9). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468

High-cholesterol foods to eat and avoid. (2021, June 30). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/high-cholesterol-foods-to-eat-and-avoid/

McNamara, D. (2015). The fifty year rehabilitation of the egg. Nutrients, 7(10), 8716-8722. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7105429

Are eggs risky for heart health? (2019, June 24). Harvard Health. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-eggs-risky-for-heart-health

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Aug 05
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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