Chances are, you’ve heard that eggs are high in cholesterol and the enemy for those at risk of heart disease or diabetes. While there might be some truth to that, the reality is much less scary than we’ve been told.
Eggs are very nutritious: they contain plenty of proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and even some cholesterol in the yolk. When researchers first found out that high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood were linked to cardiovascular diseases, they put eggs on the list of forbidden foods for those at risk of heart disease. The idea was very straightforward: no cholesterol in the diet, no clogged arteries.
It wasn’t long before further research dug deeper into the topic and began to look at eggs under a different light. It turns out the human body, specifically the liver, produces its own cholesterol, and it does so when stimulated by the saturated fats and trans fats consumed, independently of dietary cholesterol. Studies found that the more cholesterol we consume, the less our bodies produce, keeping blood levels balanced and healthy.
Although there’s still a lot of research to be done on the matter, the results obtained so far have been promising and mostly good news for egg lovers. Some studies, for instance, found the regular consumption of eggs to have no adverse effect on the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke. At the same time, others produced even more surprising results where healthy individuals were found to have a lower risk of encountering those very same conditions while also experiencing weight loss. Quite a striking difference compared to initial findings.
However, while eggs have the potential to keep type 2 diabetes away, they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in those who already live with the condition, so limited consumption is recommended. Though there’s a lot of different advice out there, the consensus is to stick to eating an average of one egg per day to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Of course, the effects eggs have on our health also depend on the way we consume them. Eating eggs with fatty foods such as bacon, hash browns, or white bread and butter isn’t the same as opting for vegetables and wholewheat toast. Making conscious decisions when it comes to food is essential to minimize the risk of encountering any ailments along the way.
Eggs can be good for you if you consume them as part of a wholesome diet low on saturated fats and high on nutrients. As always, moderation is key. Regular medical check-ups can also help you be aware of the current status of your health and prevent diseases and conditions that could change your life.