Are Eggs Bad for Your Cholesterol? Here’s What Doctors Have to Say

There’s nothing wrong with looking for all possible ways to prevent heart disease. It’s one of many leading causes of death nationwide. But can a certain food — such as eggs — give you a heart attack or weaken your heart?

High levels of cholesterol increase your chances of developing heart disease. But unless you already have high cholesterol, you might not need to worry as much about the cholesterol in your food as you’ve previously been told.

Is the cholesterol in eggs bad for your heart? Their nutritional contents might not have the health effects you’re expecting.

The truth about eggs and cholesterol

Eggs

Eggs | iStock.com/VladislavStarozhilov

What you probably don’t hear enough is that eggs are really good for you and your health. Even the yolks are packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals — including vitamin D. One egg contains only about 70 calories.

Technically, eggs do contain cholesterol, and eating them can raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood. But only in very small amounts — and not in a harmful way. Most experts are now saying that eggs don’t raise your blood cholesterol enough over time to be considered unsafe. At least, not for the average person.

If you already have high cholesterol, you’re still going to want to limit the number of eggs you eat in a week. For many people, it’s not the eggs that endanger the heart, but the foods they choose to eat with them — bacon, sausage, cheese, and more.

Do eggs have good or bad cholesterol?

It’s not a matter of the type eggs have, but how it affects cholesterol levels in your blood.

The more cholesterol you eat, the less cholesterol your body produces on its own. Eating cholesterol doesn’t cause an excess of cholesterol the same way eating too much sugar results in an excess of sugar in your blood.

Eating eggs actually raises the level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in your blood. HDL cholesterol behaves sort of like a garbage truck. It moves through your blood and picks up any extra LDL (“bad”) cholesterol it finds and takes it away so it doesn’t cause problems like heart disease.

Overall, eggs offer more benefits than harms. How much an egg affects blood cholesterol depends on the individual. But in most cases, eating eggs doesn’t contribute to conditions like heart disease nearly as much as science once believed.

How many eggs can you eat in a week?

Boiled eggs in bowl

Boiled eggs in bowl | iStock.com/Amarita

Chances are, if you have high cholesterol, eggs aren’t the underlying cause. If you’re at risk for high cholesterol and want to do all you can to prevent it, avoiding eggs might not protect your heart as much as you thought. Of course, too much of anything can still turn it into something harmful. Yes, you can still eat eggs. But not necessarily an unlimited amount of them.

Experts advise eating no more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in a day. One egg contains about 186 milligrams, all in the yolk — hence the rising prevalence of egg white omelets on your favorite restaurants’ breakfast menus.

According to Mayo Clinic, most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs weekly (one whole egg per day) without increasing their heart disease risk. You might even be able to eat more than that. What might matter more is what you have on or with your eggs. Traditional egg-and-bacon breakfasts aren’t always the healthiest for your heart.

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