Are My Eggs Trying To Kill Me?
Short Answer: No.
With eggs back in the media at the moment, it seems as good a time as any to broach the topic of eggs and cholesterol.
First things first, YES, eggs contain cholesterol. Usually between 160-200mg, of which the majority is found in the yolk.
Cholesterol is quite misunderstood, it is not the all-encompassing devil all of us first thought it to be. Cholesterol is required for the production of testosterone and estrogen (two pretty important hormones for us, particularly in the gym!), as well as vitamin D and bile. Fortunately, the body usually produces the amount that it needs to perform these functions and any dietary cholesterol intake is extra – but that doesn’t mean it’s to blame for high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol travels in the blood and odds are you’ve heard about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Bad Cholesterol often refers to our ‘LDL’ (Low-density lipoproteins for those who like the scientific terms). This is the one responsible for the plaque build up within the arteries.
Good Cholesterol will then refer to our ‘HDL’ (High-density lipoproteins) which scurry round picking up the LDL from the rest of the body and returning it to the liver to be removed.
High LDL = Bad
High HDL = Good
Now, the cholesterol levels we find in our blood have been found to be, at best, tenuously linked to dietary cholesterol intake. Meaning, the cholesterol in eggs isn’t going to bump up your cholesterol numbers at the doctor’s.
Even the US have recently (I say recently – 2015) removed their recommended daily limit of 300mg of dietary cholesterol completely. Instead they’ve switched their focus tosaturated fat intake. Most of us know that government recommended amounts are a pretty poor indicator or where our intake levels actually need to be (particularly in the US!) but this gives us an indicator of where the science is.
The argument about saturated fat is for another day, but the take home point here is – don’t fret about an egg or two! Like pretty much everything, they’re great in moderation! Obviously, if you have high-cholesterol levels in the first place or are concerned speak to your doctor and get your levels checked, then add some eggs in and get checked again and see if it has had any impact for you and your body. For sure, trust your doctor over a stranger on the internet, but my aim here is to open your mind to the idea that eggs aren’t the end of us all.
Other positives for eggs are the amount of nutrients we can find in the yolk – choline, vitamin A, D, E, K, B6 and B12, calcium, iron and selenium just for starters. Plus, eggs are also a good option for a protein source, they’re pretty versatile in that you can cook them in a few different ways which stops you getting bored and they’re something you can throw in recipes to boost the protein content to fit your goals.
All in all; eggs are cool, don’t be scared.