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The Facts About Eggs And Cholesterol

Eggs Are High In Dietary Cholesterol

Whole eggs contain a high level of dietary cholesterol (approx 220-245mg per egg) and thus make a significant contribution to your daily cholesterol intake. Official guidelines state that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for cholesterol is 300 mg, irrespective of calorie intake.

No Link Between Egg Consumption And Cardiovascular Disease

Previously, the high cholesterol content of eggs was considered to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening/narrowing of the arteries). As a result, most health authorities advised consumers to limit their egg-intake in order to protect their coronary arteries and their heart. However, recent health studies now indicate that there is no link between egg consumption and atherosclerotic heart disease. This is consistent with the theory that cholesterol levels in the bloodstream are not primarily dictated by ingestion of cholesterol from food. As a result, many dietitians now believe that people with healthy levels of lipids (fats) in the bloodstream do not need to limit the number of eggs they eat. But note that the American Heart Association take a different approach, see next paragraph.

The RDA For Cholesterol Still Stands

Despite the lack of evidence connecting egg consumption with heart disease, health experts have not yet changed the RDA guidelines for cholesterol intake, which still advise no more than 300 mg per day. So since one whole egg accounts for most of this allowance, it is not possible to eat a second egg without exceeding the recommended limit. Eating even one egg during the day means we need to limit our consumption of animal foods, as even 3oz of tenderloin beef contains 73mg of cholesterol – enough (in combination with 1 large egg) to put us over the RDA. This is the gist of the advice offered by the American Heart Association, who advocate a balanced nutritious diet which limits cholesterol intake to 300mg a day.

Patients With Raised Serum Cholesterol Should Limit Egg Consumption

People who suffer from high cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia), especially those with inherited high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia), or anyone with elevated triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia), should continue to limit their egg consumption and strictly observe the official limit on cholesterol intake, which in their case is a maximum of 200mg per day.

Cholesterol Control Inside The Body Varies From Person To Person

One reason for the debate between the eggs-are-fine and the eggs-are-bad viewpoints, is that cholesterol levels in the blood are controlled by a variety of factors. And this chemical process is not completely understood either by cardiologists, lipid-experts or dietitians. For example, the role that exercise plays in maintaining healthy serum cholesterol has not yet been fully evaluated or quantified. Nor do we fully understand the effect of genetic inheritance on the body’s ability to regulate cholesterol. Thus, for example, many people may be obese, or eat a high-cholesterol diet, yet still have normal amounts of cholesterol in their blood. This may explain why research evidence concerning the impact of eggs on our cholesterol count is so ambiguous.

Egg Whites Can Be Consumed Without Limit

Egg whites have a zero cholesterol or fat content. By comparison a large egg (60g) contains about 245 milligrams of cholesterol and 5.8 grams of fat, of which about 1.8 grams are saturated fat. Therefore, if you love eggs, but are concerned about your cholesterol level, avoid yolks and eat egg whites instead. Egg white is rich in minerals and actually contains contains more protein than an egg yolk.

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