Are they friend or foe? There has been talk for a long time saying that consuming too many eggs can lead to high cholesterol levels. Is this true, should we slow down on eggs? Let us dig into some research and see what science has to say about this..
Humans have been eating eggs for a very long time, one article says approximately 6 million years and counting. Eggs back in the good ol hunting days were one of the easiest things for us to hunt and gather because unlike the mammoths and wild animals, the fragile egg never wanted to fight back. Hmm to hunt a saber tooth tiger or eggs… decisions, decisions.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is described in this article as a waxy fat substance in the body, particularly in the cells of your body. Cholesterol can also be found in foods we eat such as eggs, fatty meats and cheese. It isn’t always a bad thing however. Cholesterol helps the body by helping the body with producing new cells and hormones as well as helping the body with dissolving vitamins. Most of the production happens in the liver, but researchers say that it isn’t necessarily the amount of cholesterol we consume but how much saturated fat is consumed with ones diet. (MedicalNewsToday.com was a huge resource where I got some of this information above)
The article I read on Medlineplus.gov discusses how too much cholesterol can be a bad thing:
“If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. This buildup of plaque is known as atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your coronary arteries become narrow or even blocked.”
Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is broken down into 2 categories. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). These are important to remember because this is pretty much how we can tell if we have good cholesterol or not. The goal is to have more HDL and less LDL. This is because HDL helps with transferring cholesterol from around your body back to your liver, which is good because as it is moved to the liver, it processes it and gets rid of the bad cholesterol for you. Now on the other hand, LDL is the bad kind because this is the kind we hear about causing heart attacks and strokes due to it increasing a build up of plaque in the arteries.
What Causes High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol is a mixture of a handful of things. The main things that tend to increase the chances of having high cholesterol is having too many LDL in your body as learned above. Also not being active, eating a lot of saturated fats from items such as deep-fried and processed foods. Smoking also lowers our HDL which is our good cholesterol as it raises the LDL count which is our bad cholesterol, this part is especially true for women according to this article I read. Also pay attention to your family health history, if your family has had problems with cholesterol then take precautions by getting checked by your doctor on a regular basis of his recommendation.
So What About The Eggs?
Eggs do indeed have a yolk that can include up to 200mg of cholesterol which is one of the richest among other foods however eggs also contain a bunch of health benefits including some benefits that can decrease chances of heart disease.
Some things that we like to see in eggs are:
- Vitamins A, B, B12, D
- Healthy fat
It is a plus having the option to get eggs in organic forms and cage free which are a good option. If not the normal eggs are still there and for a very good price which makes it a convenient food to have in the fridge.
This is a part of an article I read from Harvard that I wanted to include for those who may have a health history of high cholesterol, diabetes or anything that would need to be discussed with their doctor:
“In studies including the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, heart disease risk was increased among men and women with diabetes who ate one or more eggs a day. For people who have diabetes and heart disease, it may be best to limit egg consumption to no more than three yolks per week.”
Here is another part of the same article from above, I believe this was apart of their conclusion:
“While eggs may be a much better choice than sugary, refined grain-based options like sweetened breakfast cereals, pancakes with syrup, muffins, or bagels, they may fall short of other options. A bowl of steel-cut oats with nuts and berries, for example, will be a much better choice for heart health than an egg-centric breakfast. Consumption of whole grains and fruit predict lower risk of heart disease, and when it comes to protein, plant sources like nuts and seeds are related to lower cardiovascular and overall mortality, especially when compared to red meat or eggs.”
That is something I do want to point out for your health because I am not saying to go eat a stack of eggs everyday, I am saying to do your research. Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol and overall health and what diet would be best for you.
In any dieting advice you chose to follow, I always recommend talking to your family physician and a registered dietitian to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in any new diet. I also highly recommend getting your blood work done regularly/annually depending on your health. It is a good thing to go over your numbers with your doctor and ask any questions you have as well as discuss any nutritional guidance you should be following.
I personally eat eggs almost everyday, I try to substitute 1-3 days with a different alternative. After reading all of the articles and studies, I will try throwing other healthy options such as the steel cut oats with berries and nuts. I still believe for me personally, eating a few eggs on a regular basis shouldn’t hurt but I will be discussing topics like this with my doctor to get a professional opinion.
I hope this article helps you, I know cholesterol can be an important topic for many. Especially with an alarming number like 3,000,000 cases each year having high cholesterol. So please share this on social media and with friends and family because this could really help someone with their health and wellness.
Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!