Egg Yolks & Cholesterol: What’s The Connection?

28 Nov 2019

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If you are someone suffering from high cholesterol and you miss having those succulent sunny-side-up eggs in your breakfast plate, we feel you! For the longest time, this humble breakfast item has been associated with contributing to high cholesterol, and probably even making it worse. But are eggs really the villain we think they are? Let’s dig a little deeper into the matter and find out.

Safe for Cholesterol

The yellow part of eggs, the yolk, contains a high amount of cholesterol. In fact, a single medium-sized egg contains 186 mg [1] of cholesterol, which is almost the recommended upper limit for most people (200 mg). Hence, it was advised to skip the yolk and stick to the white section when having it. However, recent research [2] shows that the cholesterol in egg yolks does not cause a significant increase in cholesterol in most individuals. Dietary cholesterol is broken down by our digestive systems, which is why egg yolks have a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels. Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease.

If eggs are innocent, then what exactly is causing the harm? The culprit is the method of cooking and foods that complement eggs. A classic breakfast with eggs would include white bread, canned juice, cornflakes, salted nuts and more, most of these items have high levels of sodium, preservatives, and saturated fat. The last one is the worst for cholesterol as it raises LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Additionally, the oils used to cook eggs containtrans fatty acids that not only raise LDL but also lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Control the overall unhealthy habits instead of eggs, as these white foods are, in reality, great for maintaining your health and immunity.

Eggs and Diabetes

While eggs are now proven to be safe to consume, the story might be slightly different for those with diabetes. Some studies [3] show that eggs might have an adverse effect on cholesterol for patients who also have diabetes, as high blood sugar can increase the risk of heart diseases. On the other hand, some studies [4] show that eggs help improve blood sugar issues. Since there is no concrete conclusion on this, experts advise diabetics to limit egg consumption to three times a week.

Eggs Can Be Good For The Heart

Contrary to what was believed, eggs are good for heart health [5] as they contain several vitamins that lower blood pressure. They are a good source of three types of vitamin B – B2, B12, and folate, which are known to lower cholesterol levels, improve arterial elasticity, and reduce the risk of heart attacks. The other benefits of eggs are:

  • They are rich sources of selenium and vitamin D, used for building muscles and strengthening bones.
  • They contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which improve eye health.
  • It is high in protein that helps with weight loss, optimizes bone health, and increases satiety.

You can go ahead and enjoy a piece of sunshine every morning for breakfast with different types of eggs. However, you must ensure that you eat in moderation, cook it in a healthy manner, and with healthy foods.

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190315110858.htm

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988120

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/

  4. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/meat-and-plant-based-protein.html

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425170/

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