What Is the Relation Between Eggs and Cholesterol?

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you will find anywhere in the world. They have 11 vitamins and minerals along with high quality protein and healthy fats like omega-3s. Even with all their benefits, eggs are controversial because of their cholesterol levels.

Are Eating Eggs Bad for Cholesterol?

It is true that eggs have high levels of cholesterol. Despite this, the effects of eggs and cholesterol are minimal in comparison to the effect that eating trans or saturated fats would have.

Instead of heart disease risks being linked to eggs, they are actually more closely tied to what you eat with eggs. Classic examples are the sodium found in ham, bacon, and sausages and the oils containing trans fats or saturated fats used for frying your hash browns and eggs. Because of this, you will want to watch what you eat with your eggs in addition to paying attention to the eggs themselves.

The average healthy person will be able to eat seven eggs every week without seeing an increase in heart disease risk. In fact, eating this amount of eggs may even prevent certain strokes.

Those with diabetes, however, need to pay attention as for these people; eating seven eggs every week can significantly increase your risk of heart disease.

To figure out the link between eggs and cholesterol, consider that a large egg has around 186 milligrams of cholesterol and all of this is in the yolk. Whether you should watch your egg consumption depends on the daily recommended limits for cholesterol in your particular situation. Those who are healthy shouldn’t have over 300 milligrams of it every day while those with diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol should limit themselves to 200 milligrams a day. Your doctor can give you more information about your ideal cholesterol limits.

An alternative for those who love eggs but don’t want to hurt their cholesterol is using egg whites which have absolutely zero cholesterol. There are also cholesterol-free egg substitutes, typically made from egg whites.

What Foods Are Bad for Cholesterol?

Now that you know the link between eggs and cholesterol, it is time to figure out what other items can have an impact on your levels of cholesterol.

1. Fatty Meat or Poultry with Skin

Poultry that still has the skin as well as fatty meats like pork or beef sausage, bacon, fatty steaks, regular ground beef, and pepperoni can all increase LDL cholesterol levels. This is due to their saturated fat content.

Healthy alternatives include opting for skinless chicken, turkey breast, or lean beef. Also try to substitute proteins based on fish and plants instead of poultry and meat.

2. Fried or Processed Foods

It shouldn’t be surprising that processed and fried foods raise LDL cholesterol. To make matters worse, the artificial trans fats found in these fried and processed foods (with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) also lower good HDL cholesterol. While there are natural trans fats in dairy and beef, they don’t have as strong as a negative impact as artificial ones. To stay healthier, avoid artificial trans fats, fried foods, and those with partially hydrogenated oils.

3. Dairy Products with Full Fat

Besides eggs and cholesterol, what about dairy and cholesterol? The majority of fat within milk is in the form of saturated fat. The highest sources of saturated fat among Americans include dairy desserts, pizza, and full-fat cheese. All of these items also have cholesterol, which can further increase the LDL cholesterol levels.

This can be complicated since yogurt, cheese, and milk provide essential nutrients like protein and calcium. Opt for fat-free or low-fat versions to get the benefits without the cholesterol.

4. Butter or Lard

Butter, lard, and other solid animal fats can also raise blood LDL cholesterol levels due to their cholesterol and saturated fat. To help, substitute these items with healthier fat sources. Swap out butter in cooking for olive oil and for peanut butter on your bread. You can even swap butter for vegetable oil in baked goods.

5. Refined Grains

Refined carbohydrates like bagels, pasta, tortillas, and white bread can also negatively impact your HDL cholesterol. Refined grains have a glycemic index level that is high and eating these carbs can increase your risk of high cholesterol. Reducing your intake can therefore help your HDL cholesterol levels. Swap them out for high-quality sprouted breads or just avoid them.