The content of this article was originally published on The Huffington Post in March 2013.
Spoiler alert! Eggs are not bad for your cholesterol, nor are they bad for your health. Feel free to take my word for it, or read on to learn about the health benefits of eggs and why they're one of nature's greatest foods.
Wait, aren't eggs high in cholesterol?
Yes, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol. One large egg has about 200 mg of cholesterol. A few things about that though:
- Dietary Cholesterol Isn't Bound to Blood Cholesterol. There is little-to-no relation between dietary cholesterol and higher blood cholesterol levels, nor any legitimate link between dietary cholesterol and the incidence of heart disease.
- The Human Body Makes Cholesterol. Your liver makes 3-6 times more cholesterol than you can get eating eggs and/or other animal products. When dietary cholesterol is low, the body will produce more because...
- Cholesterol is Vital To Your Body. You need it for the production of steroid hormones like testosterone and also to build & repair cells (which is a perpetually occurring process in the human body).
So yes, eggs themselves are high in cholesterol, but no, consumption of eggs does not cause a spike in human cholesterol levels.
OK, but aren't eggs high in fat? Shouldn't I avoid the yolks?
Yes, eggs are fairly high in fat. Roughly 5 g of fat per egg to be precise. About 2 g of that fat is saturated fat, which of course means that the other half is unsaturated. Coincidentally, the ideal ratio of dietary fat in humans is a 1:1 saturated fat to unsaturated fat ratio, making the fat ratio in eggs nearly perfect.
If you are trying to cut calories you can get rid of some of the yolks, but benefits of eating the yolk include:
- More Vitamins. The yolk is full of vitamins A, D, E and K, not to mention carotenoids, B vitamins, choline and many other extremely valuable micronutrients. Egg yolks are essentially multivitamins, so you if you eat yolks, you can stop wasting money on useless supplements.
- Twice The Protein. Eating whole eggs doubles the protein intake you'd get eating egg whites only because the yolk contains half of the protein (3 g of the 6 g). This protein also happens to be the highest quality protein in the world, according to the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of the World Health Organization.
- Increased Testosterone Levels. Saturated fat and cholesterol increase testosterone production. Both are heavily present in the egg yolk. Testosterone levels help build muscle, which is something that almost everyone could use more of, especially as we age (even you ladies!).
I've eaten eggs daily for as long as I can remember. At one point, I was eating 6-8 eggs per day; I am now down to 4. My current blood work is nearly perfect, according to my physician.
Adam Bornstein over at Livestrong.com recently did his own 'Eggsperiment' and after adding three whole eggs to his diet daily for three months, his blood work showed a small decrease in bad blood cholesterol (LDL), a rise in good blood cholesterol (HDL) and a decrease in body fat percentage (13 per cent to 12 per cent). Sure, he was already healthy before starting this experiment, but the addition of eggs made him healthier than ever before. It's pretty cool stuff.
Still concerned about your cholesterol?
If you have high cholesterol, eggs are far from your biggest worry. Personally, I'd actually suggest adding eggs to your diet, but in addition to doing the following:
- Lose body fat. People with high cholesterol usually have excess body fat. Why? Because excess body fat is typically the result of a diet high in sugar and processed carbs (which we now know is the true main cause of elevated bad cholesterol and resulting heart disease, diabetes and death). So how to lose body fat?...
- Eat fresh food. Cut down your consumption of junk food, fast food, snack foods, soda, etc. If you can strike these "foods" from your diet, you will be absolutely astounded with the results.
- Eat fewer calories. Switching from processed food to fresh food will help with this, but weight loss cannot occur unless you eat fewer calories than you're used to.
- Exercise regularly. Daily movement is an easy way to promote health.
In conclusion, the health benefits of eggs cannot be denied. They are delicious, satisfying, full of vitamins and minerals, and are of the highest quality protein in the world. Eggs will make you stronger, healthier and better looking (probably). Eat them every day. Thank me later.