Eggs are much healthier than once thought!
The link between egg consumption and cholesterol levels
The egg has been through a turbulent time in the
last few years, with many people believing that eating more than three a
week is a recipe for a heart attack. This belief stems from the fact
that eggs are rich in dietary cholesterol and cholesterol is associated
with unhealthy arteries and heart attacks. In fact, dietary cholesterol
only contributes about a third of our total blood cholesterol levels.
Genetics, exercise and smoking are also important factors contributing
to total blood cholesterol.
It is now thought that eating too much saturated fat is the main dietary
cause of elevated blood cholesterol. The liver metabolizes excess
saturated fat into blood cholesterol, causing its levels to rise. As
cholesterol and saturated fat often occur together in the same foods,
dietary cholesterol has been unfairly demonized. It is the bacon that
you eat along with your eggs that is unhealthy, rather than the eggs
There are two types of cholesterol in the blood; HDL, or good
cholesterol, and LDL, or bad cholesterol. It is the overall level and
ratio of LDL cholesterol in the blood that indicates heart attack risk.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, actually helps the body to remove
LDL cholesterol from the body. The overall ratio of good to bad
cholesterol is as important a factor in predicting heart attacks as its
total level. Eating eggs has a negligeable effect on overall cholesterol
level and does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol. Eating
eggs regularly is therefore no longer thought to increase the risk of
So is it safe to eat eggs whenever you want? Current advice suggests
consuming less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. A standard
large egg yolk contains 215 milligrams of cholesterol. By this
reckoning it is perfectly safe to eat one egg a day. A Nutrition
Bulletin article published in 2009 concluded that dietary cholesterol
has a “clinically insignificant” effect on LDL cholesterol. Since eggs
are low in saturated fat and high in protein, they are now considered an
integral part of a balanced and healthy diet.
The Food Standards Agency and American Heart Foundation no longer advise
people to limit their egg consumption to three a week. In fact, eggs
are low in saturated fat, packed with minerals and A, B, D, E and K
vitamins and provide us with all the essential amino acids we need for a