Does eating the cholesterol in eggs really increase your risk of a heart attack? From what we know today, here’s the bottom line: for most people, an egg a day does not increase your risk of a heart attack, a stroke, or any other type of cardiovascular disease. No more than three eggs per week is wise if you have diabetes, are at high risk for heart disease from other causes such as smoking, or already have heart disease. This is definitely not what I was told by my parents, nor by my medical school professors. Back then, we knew that the cholesterol in eggs came from the egg yolks, and we knew that high levels of LDL bad cholesterol in the blood increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. So it seemed logical that avoiding cholesterol in the diet made sense. Since then, however, research has shown that most of the cholesterol in our body is made by our liver-it doesn’t come from cholesterol we eat. The liver is stimulated to make cholesterol primarily by saturated fat and trans fat in our diet, not dietary cholesterol.
Chicken eggs are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. They’re also naturally high in cholesterol. But the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to raise cholesterol levels the way other cholesterol-containing foods do, such as trans fats and saturated fats. Although some studies have found a link between eating eggs and heart disease, there may be other reasons for these findings. The foods people typically eat with eggs, such as bacon, sausage and ham, may do more to boost heart disease risk than eggs do. Plus, the way eggs and other foods are cooked — especially if fried in oil or butter — may play more of a role in the increased risk of heart disease than eggs themselves do. Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may even help prevent certain types of stroke and a serious eye condition called macular degeneration that can lead to blindness. But if you have diabetes, some research suggests that eating seven eggs a week increases heart disease risk. However, other research failed to find the same connection.
With spring sprung, now is the time to get back to heart-healthy eating. Am J Clin Nutr. Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers Cholesterol-lowering supplements may be helpful Coconut oil: Can it cure hypothyroidism? They regularly report what they eat and all of the medical conditions that they develop. Variation in cholesterol level rather than the proportions of saturated and polyunsaturated fat had the most influence on LDL cholesterol levels. So, most people can eat eggs as long as they are part of a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat. McDonald BE. What is heart valve disease? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.