By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, ND
Eggs are delicious and add protein to your diet, but do they impact your cholesterol levels?
When eggs are eaten as a whole food, they supply all the essential amino acids and are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Many of my patients tell me that their doctors have told them to stay away from eggs since they have high cholesterol levels so they made the switch to egg whites. Unfortunately, they are now missing out on most of the goodies and nutrients which are actually found in the yolk!
Did you know?
- All of the egg‘s vitamin A, D, and E and carotenoids are found in the egg yolk
- A large egg yolk contains approximately 60 calories, while the egg white contains about 15 calories, making eggs a wise and health-conscious, protein-rich snack
- Compared to egg white, a large yolk contains all the cholesterol (~300 mg) and fat (~5 g), slightly less than half of the protein, and most of the other nutrients; it also contains all of the choline, which is a key nutrient for brain function and development
- Egg yolks contain the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA (~20 mg), which is necessary for the brain and proper retinal function in the eye, and the long-chain omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (~75 mg), which is required for the healthy skin, hair, libido, reproduction, growth and response to injury
What does the research say? A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the effects of egg consumption in 100,000 men and women; it demonstrated no correlation between moderate egg consumption (6 eggs per week) and cardiovascular disease or strokes. Eggs alone do NOT contribute to high cholesterol!
Other studies also show that moderate consumption of eggs (~ 1 per day) does not appear to increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals. The cholesterol in the yolk is not what causes a problem; rather poor quality saturated and trans-fats are much more likely to raise your cholesterol levels than the actual consumption of cholesterol in the form of eggs.
Personally, I enjoy eggs most days for breakfast prepared in as many creative ways as possible, as I do not have any known allergies and get the best quality eggs from my local farmers market or from Manhattan Milk, who provides all-year-round top quality rBST-free eggs from cage-free chickens who roam free and are fed the highest grade meal possible. Eggs are a delicious meal ANY time of day!
Want to learn more?
- The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD (2000).
- The Great Cholesterol Con: Why everything you’ve been told about cholesterol, diet, and heart disease is wrong! by Anthony Colpo (2006).
- The Cholesterol Wars: The Skeptics vs. the Preponderance of the Evidence by Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD (2007).
- The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Malcolm Kendrick, MD (2007).