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If You Have High Cholesterol Can You Eat Eggs?


eggs file photo
eggs file photo

The hero of many quick and simple recipes, eggs are a delectable and adaptable culinary staple. However, due to their high cholesterol content, eggs have a long history of being demonized as harmful. You might be wondering whether it's okay for you to eat eggs if you have high cholesterol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11.5% of Americans over 20 have elevated total cholesterol levels that are similar to or higher than 240 mg/dl. High cholesterol levels can cause atherosclerosis, or damaged arteries, which can result in heart disease and stroke. By altering one's food and lifestyle, one can significantly lower their risk of developing heart disease.

Research on food and blood cholesterol frequently centers on eggs since they are a substantial source of dietary cholesterol (one large egg has roughly 207 mg of cholesterol, according to the USDA). The American Heart Association (AHA) reported in 2019 that 25% of the dietary cholesterol consumed by adults in the United States comes from eggs on average.

Eggs include a multitude of vital nutrients in addition to cholesterol. For instance, eggs are a wonderful source of vitamin D, choline, and lutein in addition to their 7 grams of protein. Lutein is an antioxidant crucial for eye health, and choline is a vital nutrient critical for the development of the infant's brain.

Link Between Eggs and Cholesterol?

In addition to coming from food, the body also produces cholesterol. In actuality, your body produces the majority of cholesterol (about 80%). A person's cholesterol levels are significantly influenced by heredity in addition to nutrition. Among its many uses are the creation of hormones and the building of human tissue.

According to the CDC, there are two main forms of cholesterol. Because it can build up along the artery walls and trigger a heart attack or stroke, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is frequently referred to as "bad" cholesterol. The "good" cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), carries cholesterol to the liver where it is excreted from the body. While high levels of HDL are beneficial, higher levels of LDL are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Egg consumption and cholesterol levels have not consistently been linked in population-based studies. Clinically controlled research, such as one published in 2018 in Nutrients, found that for the majority of people (2/3 of the population), eating eggs had just a little effect on cholesterol. Higher egg intakes for those more sensitive to dietary cholesterol increased both LDL and HDL. Heart disease did not significantly rise when the LDL to HDL ratio was maintained.

The AHA further states that a higher correlation between elevated LDL cholesterol levels and excessive saturated fat consumption may exist.

Can Eggs Increase Your Cholesterol Levels?

Yes, eating eggs occasionally may have a small effect on your cholesterol levels. Eggs alone, however, are probably not going to significantly raise your chance of developing heart disease in the future.

Even though eggs have a high cholesterol content, more recent research suggests that this increase may not be as substantial as first thought. In foods like butter, red meat, and some oils, saturated fat—which is thought to be more responsible for rising cholesterol—can be found. However, because every person is different, those who have specific risk factors, such as diabetes or heart disease, may be more vulnerable to the effects of dietary cholesterol.

Are Egg Whites Better for Cholesterol?

The yolk of an egg is where you'll find the majority of the cholesterol. Before a better understanding of the connection between nutrition and blood cholesterol, professionals frequently advised choosing egg whites over whole eggs to reduce cholesterol intake.

The yolk is loaded with nutrients like choline, lutein, and fat-soluble vitamins in addition to cholesterol. Consuming entire eggs ensures that you are obtaining all of the egg's nutritious value. However, Mitri advises sticking to egg whites if you are worried about your cholesterol intake. It's crucial to remember that your registered dietician or healthcare professional can assist you further in determining what is ideal for you.


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