Eggs And Cholesterol – How Many Eggs Should You Eat?
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
In fact, a whole egg contains all the nutrients needed to make a whole hen from a single cell.
However, eggs have a bad reputation because their yolks contain a lot of cholesterol.
However, cholesterol is not that simple. The more you eat, the fewer calories your body produces.
Therefore, eating a few eggs will not cause a sudden rise in cholesterol levels.
This article will explain this process and look at how many eggs you can safely eat in a day.
How does your body regulate cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol is often thought of as a negative factor.
In fact, some studies have linked high cholesterol to heart disease and early death. However, the evidence is mixed.
The fact is that cholesterol has a very important function in the body. It is an essential structural molecule in the membrane of any cell.
It is also used to secrete steroid hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.
Because of the importance of cholesterol, your body has developed elaborate methods to ensure that it is always fully available.
You can’t always get cholesterol from your diet, so your liver will make enough to meet your body’s needs.
However, when you eat a lot of cholesterol-rich foods, your liver begins to produce less to prevent your cholesterol levels from becoming too high.
As a result, the total amount of cholesterol in your body doesn’t change much, if at all. What does change is its source – your diet or your liver.
Nonetheless, you should not eat too much if your blood cholesterol levels are high. Too much can lead to moderately high blood cholesterol levels.
What happens if I eat a few whole eggs a day?
For decades, people have been advised to limit their egg consumption.
A medium-sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Egg whites, on the other hand, are predominantly protein-based and low in cholesterol.
An upper limit of 2 to 6 egg yolks per week is generally recommended. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this limit.
Several studies have examined the effect of eggs on cholesterol levels.
In these studies, people were divided into two groups; one group ate one to three whole eggs per day, while the other group ate something else, such as egg substitutes.
These studies showed this to be true
- In most cases, “good” HDL cholesterol increases.
- Total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels generally remain the same, but sometimes increase slightly.
- Consumption of omega-3-rich eggs reduces blood triglycerides, another important risk factor.
- Blood levels of antioxidant carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin were significantly increased.
The response to whole egg consumption appears to vary from person to person.
In 70% of people, eggs had no effect on total cholesterol or “bad” LDL cholesterol. However, in 30% of people – known as high responders – there was a slight increase in these markers.
Eating a few eggs a day may raise blood cholesterol in some people, but eggs raise “bad” LDL particles from smaller, denser particles to larger particles.
People with more LDL particles have a lower risk of heart disease. Thus, eggs slightly raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, but this is not a concern.
Scientific evidence shows that up to 3 whole eggs per day is perfectly safe for healthy people.
Eggs and heart disease
Several studies have been conducted on egg consumption and the risk of heart disease.
Many of these are observational studies that follow large groups of people over many years.
Researchers then use statistical methods to determine whether certain habits, such as diet, smoking or exercise, are associated with a reduced or increased risk of certain diseases.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in these studies, which showed that people who ate whole eggs were less likely to develop heart disease than those who did not.
Some studies have shown a reduced risk of stroke.
However, this study suggests that people with type 2 diabetes who eat large amounts of eggs have an increased risk of heart disease.
A controlled study of people with type 2 diabetes found that eating two eggs a day, six days a week for three months, had no significant effect on blood lipid levels.
The impact on health may depend on other parts of your diet. On a low-carbohydrate diet, which is the best choice for people with diabetes, eggs are associated with improvements in risk factors for heart disease.
There are many more health benefits of eggs
It is important to remember that eggs are not just about cholesterol. They are also rich in nutrients and have some other impressive benefits.
- They are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- It is very rich in choline, which is a nutrient that plays an important role in all cells.
- They are rich in high-quality animal protein, which helps increase muscle mass and improve bone health.
- Studies have shown that eggs increase satiety and help with weight loss.
In addition, eggs are delicious and very easy to prepare.
The benefits of eating eggs far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
How much is too much?
Unfortunately, no studies have shown that it is possible to feed more than three eggs per day.
Although unlikely, it is possible that eating more could have negative health effects, and three more is scientifically uncharted territory.
However, in one case, an 88-year-old man was eating 25 eggs per day. His cholesterol levels were normal and his health was good.
Of course, an individual’s response to extreme egg consumption cannot be extrapolated to the general population, but it is still interesting.
It is also important to remember that not all eggs are created equal. Most eggs sold in supermarkets come from factory-farmed hens that are fed a grain-based diet.
The healthiest eggs are those rich in omega-3s, which come from pasture-raised hens. These eggs are richer in omega-3s and important fat-soluble vitamins.
Overall, it is perfectly acceptable to eat up to three whole eggs per day.
Given the variety of nutrients and the powerful health benefits of eggs, a good egg may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.