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Are Eggs Bad News For Your Cholesterol?

Did you read that study that claimed egg yolks are almost as bad as smoking for plaque build-up in your arteries? That study scared a lot of people unnecessarily. It was an extremely limited observational study that failed to control for variables like exercise, age, sugar consumption, and other lifestyle choices [1][2]. You can breathe easy and finish your omelette.


Whew. So what does all the research say?

You can safely eat as much as 4 egg yolks per week without any increased risk of heart disease [3]. As a matter of fact, even eating as much as one egg per day is unlikely to have substantial impact on your heart health [4]. 

That being said, a high-cholesterol diet does contribute to high blood cholesterol levels, which can effect heart health in the long term.


Bottom line?

If you are at high risk of heart disease, you should limit your cholesterol to 200 mg per day. Otherwise, you should consume less than 300 mg per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [5].

Eggs are a healthy source of protein fortified with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but the yolks have around 185-215 mg of cholesterol, which is more than the half of your recommended daily total. If you’re at risk of heart disease, it’s a good idea to eat fewer yolks and limit other sources of cholesterol such as shrimp, red meats, and fatty cheeses. If you’re not at risk, you can probably eat the occasional egg yolk without fearing health consequences.

A great way to get the healthy benefits of eggs without the extra cholesterol is to just use the egg whites or buy cholesterol-free egg substitutes.


Final Thoughts

For most people, “the mix of fats in the diet influences cholesterol in the bloodstream far more than cholesterol in food does.” Aside from watching your cholesterol intake, the best two things you can do for your heart is 1) eat fewer refined carbohydrates and 2) replace saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats [6].








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