Cholesterol in Eggs – Old Myths and Proven Facts!
If you have high cholesterol, no doubt you have been told to avoid eggs at all costs and eat more oatmeal. And, it is not shocking that the high amount of cholesterol in eggs has led to their seemingly deserved place among the biggest offenders for raising blood fat levels. However, as studies have become more abundant and we have learned more about the way in which our bodies handle ingested cholesterol, the old notions about the egg’s affiliation to raising cholesterol numbers is being challenged.
The relationship between eggs and cholesterol is an odd one. There is no disputing that eggs contain cholesterol, about 186 milligrams in each large one. But, what is less understood is whether or not the cholesterol in eggs actually contributes to a rise in cholesterol levels. Men’s Health cites a study published by The Journal of Nutrition that indicates that eggs do in fact raise cholesterol, but the study found a rise in GOOD cholesterol (HDL) in study participants, not bad. While in no way conclusive, the study shakes previously conceived notions about the cholesterol in eggs, and what our bodies do with it. The Mayo Clinic points out that how much the cholesterol in foods we eat actually impacts our own cholesterol levels can vary greatly from person to person (likely due to genetic variances) and therefore an egg may prove significant for one person, but less impactful to another.
This may have to do with the impact that saturated fats have on cholesterol levels. Eggs do not contain an abundance of saturated fats, however the food stuffs that we choose to implement alongside them do. Toast with butter, bacon and sausage are all common egg side dishes, and it is possible that what we are choosing to eat along with our eggs may play a greater role in spiking LDL than merely the cholesterol in eggs alone. This fact is evidenced by diets in Eastern cultures, such as Japan, a country that consumes a whole lot of eggs. The average Japanese citizen eats around 328 annually, according to LiveScience.com. However, they enjoy some of the lowest levels of cholesterol in the world. Researchers think that this is because the Japanese diet may be high in eggs, but it is incredibly low in saturated fats, showing a link to these risky ingestibles rather than the eggs themselves.
In fact, while eggs are almost always included in the list of foods to avoid for those with high cholesterol, LiveScience points out that there is no longer a black mark on eggs as per the American Heart Association. Rather, a daily cholesterol intake limit has been established instead. As an alternative to eliminating certain foods, a daily intake limit has been put into place to help make managing high cholesterol foods easier. Those with high cholesterol should consume no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol daily, while those without high cholesterol should consume no more than 300 milligrams daily. With these reasonable guidelines, an egg a day is much less daunting for those who want to enjoy high cholesterol foods like eggs as part of a sensible diet in order to take advantage of all of the nutritional benefits the bird byproducts have to offer.
Eggs will likely never be considered good cholesterol foods. However, the cholesterol in eggs has started to become less relevant as we learn more about the impact that other dietary choices like an abundance of sugar, carbs and saturated fats have on blood fat levels. When combined into a healthy cholesterol diet that includes fresh foods like spinach and avocados, exercise and natural supplements to lower cholesterol, it is possible that eggs can contribute to better overall health when consumed in modest amounts alongside these healthy lifestyle changes. And, while few recipes to lower cholesterol will likely ever include eggs, avoiding them entirely may not be entirely required. The cholesterol in eggs may seem significant, but it is nowhere near as significant as the impact that healthful lifestyle changes combined with solid medical care can have on cholesterol levels.