Myth: Eggs are bad for your heart because they have a lot of cholesterol.
TL;DR: Eggs have a lot of cholesterol, but not all cholesterol is created equal. Despite eggs having 141-234 mg cholesterol/egg, the cholesterol is in HDL form: a good type of cholesterol. Lower LDL and VLDL cholesterol by reducing alcohol consumption and controlling your weight, and increase HDL cholesterol by .
What is cholesterol?
There are 2 main types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. HDL carries cholesterol from tissue to the liver. LDL carries cholesterol to tissue to aid in the production of hormones. Cholesterol is vitally important for your body to function well. It is an essential part of cell membranes, and it is also used to make steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.
Given the importance of cholesterol, the liver produces it on its own when we have a deficiency. When we consume too much, the liver stops and it begins to clog arteries.
Since it is fat-like, fatty deposits can develop in the arteries from excess amount of LDL cholesterol.
What’s the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol?
HDL(Good): Carries cholesterol to the liver which removes plague buildup and increases blood flow in your arteries, your liver expels the extra cholesterol from your body
LDL(Bad): Transports cholesterol through the arteries and to tissue leading to buildup on artery walls which increases risk for heart attack and heart disease
VLDL(Very Bad): VLDL carries the high levels of triglycerides to tissue. Fat is formed from triglycerides that are built up after eating a fatty meal, especially after consuming an excess number of calories. Triglycerides also form cholesterol that builds up over time.
Back to eggs…
Now you can now tell why eggs are NOT bad for your heart!
Eggs only contain HDL cholesterol, actually making your heart HEALTHIER!
Finally, in the 2015-2020 Dietary the FDA removed a limit on cholesterol consumption and included eggs in many diet recommendations. This myth is finally recognized and the science supports that eggs are not bad for your heart.
I must note that eggs themselves do not directly contribute to coronary heart disease, but often times the food that accompanies them do such as bacon. If you are preparing eggs with butter that can also increase your risk of heart disease.
Ideal Cholesterol Levels
Get a blood test to assess your HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels by the age of 20. There is no direct assessment for VLDL so triglyceride level is measure in place of VLDL.
Low: <40 mg/dL Midrange: 40-60mg/dL Ideal: >60mg/dL
High: >160 mg/dL Midrange: 130-150mg/dL Ideal: <100mg/dL
High: >200 mg/dL Midrange: 150-200mg/dL Ideal: <150mg/dL
Lowering LDL and VLDL Cholesterol
This anecdote leads to a larger discussion about lowering these specific forms of bad cholesterol and increasing the levels of good cholesterol. The larger myth to debunk here is that cholesterol is bad for your heart. Decrease it by:
- Limit alcohol & sugar consumption
- Quit smoking
- Control your weight & regular physical activity
- Remove saturated fats from your diet
Increasing HDL Cholesterol
Increasing this form of cholesterol reduces plague buildup and cleans the liver from fatty triglycerides. Increase it by:
- Regular physical activity: 10-15 minutes a few times a day
- Eating Right: EGGS! avocado, whole grains, nuts, salmon, trout, mackerel, apples, pears
- Analyze Genetics with your healthcare provider
In conclusion, we have debunked the myth of eggs being bad for your heart. I hope you stay tuned as we look more in-depth into other myths about nutrition!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, take my advice at your own discretion.