There seems to be a constant dispute over eggs. Many articles claim they are horrible for you, while others claim an egg a day keeps the doctor away.
How cholesterol works
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol (most of which is found in the yolk); the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends only consuming 300 mg of cholesterol each day. This seems particularly damning because many people make the assumption that the more cholesterol you have in your food, the higher your blood cholesterol level will be.
But this isn’t entirely true.
Research shows that the cholesterol you eat actually has a very small impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood.
Cholesterol is a vital nutrient for your body. It is in cell membranes (or the outer layer of your cells), required for growth, and helps in the production of many of your hormones. Your body produces between one to two grams of cholesterol each day on its own.
When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body will produce less cholesterol because of a cholesterol “set point” in your body that is determined mostly by genetics, exercise habits, and stress.
Egg consumption research
Many studies have been completed that show no link between consuming eggs and developing heart disease. There are even some studies that show evidence that eggs can reduce your risk of stroke.
In controlled trials where people ate up to three eggs per day in conjunction with a weight-loss diet, participants in the study not only didn’t show an increase in cholesterol levels, but also showed evidence of lost weight and decreased inflammation.
Benefits from eggs
Not only does research show that eggs will most likely not increase your risk of heart disease, it demonstrates that eggs may actually have vital health benefits. Eggs contain these healthy nutrients that will keep your body running smoothly:
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps your body break down food into energy
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is important for producing red blood cells
- Vitamin A (retinol) aids with eyesight
- Vitamin E (tocopherol) fights free radicals that can cause tissue and cell damage (which potentially leads to cancer)
- High in protein while also being low in calories
And if you think that ditching the yolk is the way to go, think again. The egg yolk contains 90 percent of the calcium, iron, zinc, B6, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that are important for your health. If you only eat the egg whites, you are missing out on important nutritional benefits.
For those with diabetes, eggs may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease. More research still needs to be done to reach a conclusion and to figure out why eggs may affect diabetics differently.
But for most healthy people, eating up to seven eggs a week should not increase your risk of heart disease. When you are making your eggs, look out for the traditional American breakfast items that you usually pair with them, like bacon, sausages, and ham. These can be high in saturated fat and sodium. They can affect your heart health, so don’t cancel out the benefits of your healthy, egg-y meal.