What is the deal with eggs? One minute they’re bad for you and have all the cholesterol in the world, and the next everyone’s recommending them. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s high time we got to the bottom of it!
Eggs and Cholesterol: The Good and the Ugly
Eggs have a very high concentration of cholesterol, and eating two of them could put someone over (what was) the daily recommended intake for cholesterol consumption. Two large eggs have 372 mg of cholesterol, while the daily recommended intake is 300 mg (or 200 mg if you have a heart problem). But I’ll tell you one thing: eggs are on my plate every morning.
In recent years, dietary cholesterol has been found not to have much of an impact on blood cholesterol levels or the risk of a heart attack, atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular problems, yet it still gets a bad rap. In fact, new research published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that dietary cholesterol poses virtually no threat to blood cholesterol levels. What you might find even more surprising is that results were consistent in people with genetic conditions that keep blood cholesterol high. Furthermore, dietary cholesterol did not contribute to thicker arterial walls or an increased risk of heart attack.
Bad Cholesterol Is Not the Result of Eggs—But Processed Carbs
The “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your blood, as research has shown, is not the result of the cholesterol found in animal food products like eggs, red meat, or dairy. The LDL cholesterol that accumulates in your arteries comes from refined processed carbohydrates.
You see, there are four specific types of LDL cholesterol. One form, the type that’s found in red meat, dairy, eggs, and animal products, is big, fluffy and just kind of floats around in your bloodstream. It’s classified as neutral, meaning it does not have any health implications. The other three forms of LDL, however, are smaller and react differently in the body. These types, which come from refined carbs, are the ones that stick to arterial walls, result in blockages, and increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. These are the bad forms of LDL.
Eggs: An Important Part of a Healthy Diet
So why are naturally fatty foods—and those high in cholesterol like eggs—still vilified? I believe it’s because of the interests of big business. Corn farmers (who manufacture high-fructose corn syrup, a major additive in processed food) have a lot of influence in Washington. There are some reports indicating that the doctors selected to write official dietary guidelines are heavily vetted to ensure they continue to promote low-fat diets, so that “big corn” business doesn’t need to worry about competition from egg farmers.
But that’s all speculative. At the end of the day, eggs and other animal products are important parts of a healthy diet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and eggs have even earned the title of “nature’s multivitamin!”
Sources for Today’s Article:
University of Eastern Finland, “High-cholesterol diet, eating eggs do not increase risk of heart attack, not even in persons genetically predisposed, study finds,” Science Daily, February 11, 2016; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160211083044.htm, last accessed February 21, 2016.
Heid, M., “Experts say lobbying skewed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines,” Time, January 8, 2016; http://time.com/4130043/lobbying-politics-dietary-guidelines/, last accessed February 21, 2016.