As far as I can remember, I have been told not to consume too many eggs because of its amount of cholesterol. A typical eggs’ cholesterol amount is 212 milligrams, which is a lot. However, eggs’ cholesterol levels being high do not equate to higher cholesterol in the body. It is my belief that the typical American avoids consuming too many eggs because of the fear that they will have a high cholesterol via the eggs’ cholesterol myth. I decided to research the topic and found many studies involving eggs and cholesterol and here is what I found. In the studies about eggs and cholesterol, it talks about HDL and LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol and HDL is “good” cholesterol. In most cases, it is beneficial when people have elevated HDL levels and lowered LDL levels. Listed below are many studies on the eggs’ cholesterol myth.
Eggs’ Cholesterol Myth Debunked!
In one study on eggs and cholesterol published in the European Journal of Nutrition, increased dietary cholesterol (specifically eggs’ cholesterol) was not shown to increase LDL cholesterol levels when accompanied by an energy-restricted diet and weight loss. The study on eggs and cholesterol consisted of 2 groups. One group was to exclude eggs from the diet and the other group consumed 2 eggs a day. Both groups consumed less calories than usual to promote weight loss. Both groups showed significant weight loss and both the egg-fed and non-egg-fed groups showed decreased LDL levels. In summary, this study about eggs and cholesterol showed that when losing weight, consuming 2 eggs daily does not increase cholesterol levels.
In another study on the eggs’ cholesterol myth conducted at Mahidol University in Bangkok, sixty hyperlipidemic subjects, with an average age of 61 years old, who had been put on drugs to lower their lipid levels, were assigned to consume 3 added eggs daily to their diet. The results of the study on eggs and cholesterol levels included increased HDL cholesterol and a decreased LDL-cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol ratio. This is an another study showing that the eggs’ cholesterol myth may be a myth.
A 12 week study on eggs and cholesterol conducted at the University of Connecticut showed an increased HDL level. This study on eggs and cholesterol levels consisted of dividing the participating the subjects into group. Although both groups were on carbohydrate-restricted diets, one group consumed 3 whole eggs a day while the other group consumed an equivalent amount of egg substitute. After the 12 weeks, subjects consuming whole eggs showed an increase of HDL cholesterol from 50 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL while showing no change in LDL levels.
Another 12 week study on eggs and cholesterol was performed at the University of Connecticut. The subjects were all diagnosed with metabolic disorders. They all consumed 3 eggs a day and by the end of the 12 week period only 3 subjects had the classification of the metabolic disorder while 18 were classified with a metabolic disorder at the beginning of the study. In conclusion, the study suggests that including eggs in one’s diet may decrease risk factors associated with metabolic disorders without the negative effects of eggs’ cholesterol levels.
An interesting case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on a man who consumed approximately 25 eggs daily showed very healthy cholesterol levels. This could be a rare case of the eggs’ cholesterol myth being busted as it is just one person, but if eggs and cholesterol increase were in fact correlated, then this man should have had extremely high cholesterol levels.
In my efforts to find a study linking egg consumption to increased LDL cholesterol levels, I failed. I was not able to find a single published study showing that consuming eggs raises “bad” cholesterol. So if high cholesterol foods don’t raise cholesterol (specifically from high egg’s cholesterol levels), then what does? Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and saturated fat have all been shown to raise cholesterol levels.
In summary, eggs raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower the LDL-cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol ratio. Eggs contain a ton of vitamins and are a great source of protein and are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. The eggs’ cholesterol myth that eggs raise “bad” cholesterol is a myth that has little evidence behind the claim!