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Eggs do not cause high cholesterol

Posted on 23rd September 2019


Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. People don’t realise that you need a certain amount of cholesterol to produce hormones, however too much cholesterol can stick to your artery walls to form plaque. The type that is considered “bad” is the LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), because it travels through your arteries and can stick to the walls of your arteries, making them narrow. This plaque can build up and may block or narrow the artery. This process is called atherosclerosis. High cholesterol increases your chances of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are the biggest cause of death for both men and women in Ireland.

Harvard University research has shown that most of the cholesterol in our body is made by our liver, not from cholesterol we eat. The liver is stimulated to make cholesterol primarily by saturated fat and trans-fat in our diet, not dietary cholesterol. A large egg contains little saturated fat (about 1.5 grams). Dr Komaroff from Harvard states that “the saturated fat in butter, cheese, bacon, sausage, muffins, or scones, for example, raises your blood cholesterol much more than the cholesterol in your egg. And the highly refined “bad carbs” in white toast, pastries, home fries, and hash browns may also increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.”
Eggs also contain many healthy nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for the eyes; choline, which is good for the brain and nerves; and various vitamins (A, B, and D).

In 2017, a Randomised cross-over clinical intervention compared an oatmeal breakfast to a two egg breakfast. The study concluded that neither adversely affected the biomarkers associated with CVD risk, but that the eggs increased satiety throughout the day in a young healthy population.

In 2018 an assessment of 2 Randomised cross-over clinical interventions suggested that the dietary cholesterol in whole egg was not well absorbed, which may provide mechanistic insight for why it does not acutely influence plasma total-cholesterol concentration and is not associated with longer-term plasma cholesterol control.

The British and Irish Heart Foundation state that moderate egg consumption – up to one a day – does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals and can be part of a healthy diet.
In fact, since 2000, major world and UK health organizations, changed their advice on eggs and there is now no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat, as long as you eat a varied diet.