Do eggs raise your cholesterol?
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Dr Shunmukha Priya, INFS Faculty
Author: Dr. Shunmukha Priya.S
The consumption of eggs dates back many years, as they are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. Over the years, with increasing heart diseases, fingers are pointed towards eggs as one of the reasons. An egg contains around > 184 mg of cholesterol and is seen in yolk only. Hence, it is believed among a few people that, regular consumption of whole eggs can lead to increased cholesterol and related diseases. So, most people stick to consuming egg whites and discard the yolk. But that’s not the truth, studies state no association between whole egg consumption and increased cholesterol levels in the body.
**** In our body, cholesterol is present in two forms- Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL or the “bad” cholesterol), and High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL or the “good” cholesterol). Here Low-Density lipoproteins (LDL) contribute to fatty deposits resulting in the narrowing of the blood vessels, increased blood pressure, damage to blood vessels and heart disease. For more information refer to ‘ Good Fat and Bad Fats ’ .
The cholesterol in egg yolk is an excellent source of phospholipids. These bioactive lipids have a beneficial role in cholesterol metabolism. It also affects the inflammation and the functioning of HDL (good cholesterol).
Studies found that the cholesterol from food does not have a large effect on blood cholesterol levels. The liver naturally produces cholesterol. It is a fatty compound in every cell, and the body needs it to stay healthy. When we consume more cholesterol, the production of cholesterol by the liver in the body will be less. Similarly, if we don’t eat sufficient cholesterol, the liver produces what we require. But increased intake of saturated and trans-fat intake will lead to an increase in cholesterol levels in the blood. The foods rich in saturated fats are red meat also high in cholesterol, which may increase cholesterol levels.
The dietary cholesterol gets broken down in the gut and is not absorbed as a whole molecule. On the other hand, trans fats break down into short chains of fatty acids which get linked and are responsible for increasing the cholesterol level.
Despite the beneficial role of eggs, it can be harmful on certain occasions. When eggs are consumed with sausage or bacon, scrambled with cheese, or with fried potatoes butter, cheese, bacon, sausage, and muffins, raises blood cholesterol. And the highly refined "bad carbs" in white toast, pastries, and home fries, also increase LDL cholesterol with overconsumption of the overall recommended intake.
Though consuming eggs daily marginally increases LDL cholesterol, it also increases HDL cholesterol levels. Thus, the total cholesterol to HDL ratio, which is an important predictor of heart disease, remains steady.
The egg is an essential source of various nutrients, for healthy living, but it will be profitable only with healthy diets and lifestyles.
- Geiker, N., Larsen, M., Dyerberg, J. et al. Egg consumption, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 44–56 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.153
- Sugano, M., & Matsuoka, R. (2021). Nutritional Viewpoints on Eggs and Cholesterol. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 10 (3), 494. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030494
- Griffin B. A. (2016). Eggs: Good or bad?. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 75 (3), 259–264. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665116000215
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