CHOLESTROL IN EGGS

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019    |    IN HEALTH    |    BY THE ONZEN TEAM

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Eggs, particularly the yolk, contain cholesterol.

On to the next question: Does this mean that eggs are bad for you?

This question has been debated for so long and the answers are always changing. One day, it is OK to consume more than one egg a day; another time you should stay away from having too many eggs.

It’s no wonder why people are confused and why eggs have gotten a bad rep because of its association with cholesterol!

To understand this, you need to know what cholesterol is.

In health, cholesterol is often viewed as negative. This is because high levels of cholesterol is often linked to heart diseases.

The truth is there are two types of cholesterol – one that our bodies make (blood cholesterol) and the other that we consume (dietary cholesterol) [1].

Cholesterol is actually very important for your body as it is used to make hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. It is also a structural molecule that is essential to every cell membrane [2].

Your body ensures that you always have enough cholesterol by producing it in the liver. But when you eat a lot of cholesterol-rich foods, your liver starts producing less to prevent your cholesterol level from becoming too high [3,4].

So the danger of too much cholesterol lies in that source – the saturated and trans fat you eat that makes up the cholesterol in your body [5].

How is this related to the cholesterol in eggs?

While egg do contain cholesterol (186mg to be specific for a medium-sized egg, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake), it is a good source of healthy fats including omega-3 fats and quality protein [6].

Evidence even suggests that the cholesterol in eggs have a very small effect on your cholesterol levels if taken at normal levels [7].

What you need to pay attention to instead is what you eat your eggs with that may spike up your cholesterol level – white bread, butter, salt, processed meat like bacon and sausages – these are more likely to have an effect on your cholesterol levels than the eggs you’re eating because of the amount of saturated fats they have in them!

So is it OK to eat more than egg a day? Definitely! Here are some evidence to support it:

  • An independent review commissioned by the Heart Foundation of New Zealand found that there was no evidence to limit egg intake to three per week [8].
  • The same review also found that those at risk of heart disease, including those with type 2 diabetes, eating up to six eggs per week was unlikely to have any effect on their health [9].
  • The Heart Foundation of Australia states that it is OK to eat up to seven eggs a week. That’s one egg a day [10].


It is important to note that some people are more sensitive to eating dietary cholesterols. Known as hyper-responders, they tend to have a greater response to dietary cholesterol intake. For these people, it is best to consult with your doctor first to decide on what your requirement would be [11].

Remember, it’s more important to pay attention to what you eat your eggs with or how you prepare them.

A heart-healthy dietary plan recommends that your eggs are either boiled, poached or scrambled without butter. Try eating your eggs with vegetables like spinach, mushroom, tomato and avocado. Choose wholegrain bread rather than white bread. Keep your egg dishes healthy!



References

  1. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/documents/nutrition/q-and-a/eggs-and-cholesterol.pdf
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat#section1
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8857917
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC24942/
  5. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/protein-foods/eggs
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat#section2
  7. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/documents/nutrition/q-and-a/eggs-and-cholesterol.pdf
  8. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/documents/nutrition/q-and-a/eggs-and-cholesterol.pdf
  9. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/documents/nutrition/q-and-a/eggs-and-cholesterol.pdf
  10. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/protein-foods/eggs
  11. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/documents/nutrition/q-and-a/eggs-and-cholesterol.pdf