Eggs are loaded in protein and extremely nutritious but some say all that cholesterol is bad for you. Confused? Let`s look at the facts.
Eggs are a way to win at breakfast! They’re packed with loads of nutrients and vitamins including protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins A, B-6 and B-12, C and D. But no doubt you will have heard some say that eggs can be bad for your health. All that cholesterol can’t be good can it? So which is which? Are eggs good or bad for you?
In order to get a better insight into the health benefits of eggs and eliminate the confusion swirling on this matter, it is vital to look at a few things first.
A Quick Word On Cholesterol
One of the main reasons why people think that eggs are unhealthy is because of their cholesterol content.
On average, an egg contains 185 mg of cholesterol.
That means that if you consume two eggs in a day, you are well overboard the American Heart Association`s recommended 300 mg cholesterol daily limit.
Does that mean that you should avoid eating eggs altogether or limit your intake to one egg per day?
The main argument against the consumption of eggs is that these can increase blood cholesterol levels.
But unlikely as it may sound, consuming eggs and other seemingly ‘high cholesterol foods’ does not necessarily translate to an increase in blood cholesterol levels.
You see, the human body produces cholesterol on a daily basis—somewhere between one and two grams.
This amount of cholesterol often exceeds the cholesterol found in eggs. Furthermore, when you consume foods that have cholesterol, your body produces less cholesterol on its own. Conversely, when you limit your consumption of food that has cholesterol, your body will produce more on its own.
What`s the reason behind this? In simple terms, we require a set amount of cholesterol. How much is often determined by factors like stress levels, amount of exercise and genetics.
Cholesterol Is Not Necessarily The Bad Guy
Contrary to popular belief that cholesterol is bad for the body, actually, it’s is not. In fact, it plays a crucial role in the body, including the production of various hormones.
Some people caution against the consumption of eggs because they believe that these, specifically the yolks, increase cholesterol levels. In turn, high cholesterol levels have been associated with an increased risk for both artery and heart disease.
But according to a study – dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations – the opposite is true.
Many other studies, including this one, indicate that for the general public, eating eggs on a daily basis will not lead to an increase in cholesterol or lead to heart disease.
In fact, in another study, test subjects were asked to eat as many as three eggs on a daily basis. The result? A majority of those who participated in the study attained quite a few health benefits including weight loss, improved cholesterol levels and reduced inflammation.
Take note though if you have diabetes or familial hypercholesterolemia, a condition that affects 1 in every 250 to 500 people in the U.K., studies suggest you should avoid or limit your intake.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH for short) is a common inherited disorder that causes very high cholesterol levels. Unlike some other causes of high cholesterol, living a healthy lifestyle alone is not enough to reduce cholesterol to a safe level, and medication is required.
Fiona Kinnear a registered dietitian and FH researcher says that:
“Only 15% of those living with FH know that they have it and worldwide- only about 1%. This is because having high cholesterol doesn’t cause very many symptoms so many people don’t find out until they develop heart disease, or other health problems that require blood tests. Once it is has been diagnosed, it can be treated effectively with medication and a healthy lifestyle. Diagnosis is important as treatment is more effective the sooner it is started. If you have a history of early heart disease in your family, it might be worth getting your doctor to test you for FH. For more information visit HEART UK (the cholesterol charity) website at https://www.heartuk.org.uk.”
One study in diabetics showed that consumption of more than 6 eggs per week was associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease.
What About The Yolks?
In “fitness circles” it’s not uncommon for people to say that it is okay to eat eggs but you should avoid the yolks. The poor yolks, why all the hate? Should you throw them away?
Probably not. In fact, the yolks are the most nutritious part of the eggs. Egg whites only contain water and protein. In contrast, egg yolks contain almost all the nutrients and vitamins in eggs. The yolk has also is filled with omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial to heart health. On top of that, egg yolks are also a good source of choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. Choline is crucial for the health of the heart and brain while lutein and zeaxanthin are beneficial for the eyes.
The Wrap Up: Are Eggs Good Or Bad?
Health conscious folks who are into fitness and want to stay lean (probably you if you’re reading this), and who are looking to make the most of the health benefits that eggs can provide, should remember that:
– Moderate consumption of eggs (even every day) does not lead to an increased risk of heart disease or a spike in cholesterol levels.
– Eating eggs yolks is not harmful for most people. In fact, egg yolks are packed with nutrients and vitamins that benefit your heart.
– Diabetes and heart disease patients are advised to limit egg consumption to no more than three yolks per week.
– The way you cook your eggs matters. Eggs as part of a full English…or Scottish that include trimmings such as white bread, black pudding, sausages and hash browns may be too much for your cardiovascular system….and your waist line.
– Safety first kids: make sure eggs are stored and prepared with care. Prevent the risk of salmonella and other food-borne illness by cooking eggs properly.