Eggs are excellent sources of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D, choline, iron and iodine.
However, the concern with eggs is the cholesterol and many avoid them for this reason.
The question is, do cholesterol containing foods like eggs influence blood cholesterol levels? How many is too many?
Let’s find out!
Atherosclerosis is the build up of plaque inside arteries. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, and other substances found in the blood. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious health problems – stroke, heart attack and even death. There is a strong link between LDL (AKA the “bad cholesterol”) and atherosclerosis. Pro-atherogenic particles include VLDL, IDL and LDL.
The fear of eggs comes from the idea that as it has cholesterol, it will increase our cholesterol levels.
While it is true that high blood cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, the source of the problem is not so much from cholesterol containing foods (like egg).
The dietary component with the strongest link to atherosclerosis and impact on blood lipids is SATURATED FAT, especially at intakes of >10% of daily energy intake.
Examples and sources of saturated fat include: fat and skin on meat, butter, coconut oil (no, it is not a superfood), ghee, lard, santan, cream, ice cream, baked goods and packaged foods like cookies, cake, biscuits, chips etc.
Based on research, we know that the effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol is minimal (not none!). And interestingly, the impact of cholesterol is moderated by saturated fat! This means that if your diet is high in saturated fat, there is an additive effect from dietary cholesterol.
The magnitude of effect would depend on total fat intake, particularly saturated fat (SFA), and ratio of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) to saturated fat.
It is interesting that people fear eggs and cholesterol when eggs are not even the main source of dietary cholesterol (according to population studies)!
In summary, if you want to manage your cholesterol levels, the first place to look at is your SATURATED FAT INTAKE! Cutting out eggs would be majoring in the minors.
So yes, eggs are here to stay and you can safely include them in your diet. Of course, in moderation!
It is difficult to put a number to it without assessing one’s diet but in general, 2 a day is fine!
If you have issues with cholesterol, reach out and we can help you!
Schonfeld, G. U. S. T. A. V., Patsch, W. O. L. F. G. A. N. G., Rudel, L. L., Nelson, C. H. A. R. L. E. S., Epstein, M., & Olson, R. E. (1982). Effects of dietary cholesterol and fatty acids on plasma lipoproteins. The Journal of clinical investigation, 69(5), 1072-1080.