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Eggs and Cholesterol

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Eggs have long been a subject of debate amongst health experts and consumers. Some people will tell you not to eat them at all, while others will swear they're a miracle food. When it comes to eggs and your health, the number one thing people are concerned about is the high amount of cholesterol in eggs. But is that cholesterol really bad for you? And, if so, just how much is too much?

Types of Cholesterol

Egg Nutrients and Benefits

Although eggs often get a bad rap, they are, in fact, a very nutritious food. Not all of the fat(s) in eggs is bad for you, but eggs contain some healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a high quality source of protein, and the protein in them has a high biological value (BV), which means it's easy for your body to digest and use. In fact, eggs have a higher BV than any other source of protein. Lastly, eggs are full of essential vitamins and minerals, such as B12, choline, and calcium.

Yolks vs. Whites

It is important to understand the difference between the white of an egg and the yolk. An egg white contains roughly half of the protein and trace amounts of other nutrients, but virtually none of the fat and cholesterol. An egg yolk also contains about half of the protein and the bulk of the other nutrients, but virtually all of the fat and cholesterol. Egg yolks are also higher in calories. This is why some people choose to discard the yolks and only eat the whites.

Cholesterol Myths

Egg Cholesterol

A large egg contains approximately 211 mg of cholesterol, which accounts for 70% of your daily value. This is a large amount and should be taken into consideration for those who have or are at risk for high LDL cholesterol. For those who have healthy cholesterol levles, according to Dr. Clare Collins, eggs do not have a big effect on your LDL (bad) cholesterol as long as the rest of your diet is low in saturated fat. The key is moderation and a balanced, healthy diet.

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Recommended Consumption

Consuming approximately six eggs per week is a safe range, but it's not recommended to eat more than two whole eggs per day, maximum. If you want to eat more eggs for the extra protein, just eat the whites. You can actually mix one yolk with a few whites to retain the healthy vitamins, minerals and fatty acids while increasing the amount of protein without any extra fat or cholesterol.

Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

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