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Cholesterol and eggs: myths and truth

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 25.02.2021
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Eggs and cholesterol have long been fanned by various myths and legends. Many people talk about this today. Both ordinary people and experts speak about the benefits and dangers of eggs. We are talking about both chicken and quail eggs. Opinions are divided: some argue that eggs are useful, while others say that they are harmful, and in the case of high cholesterol, in no case should they be eaten. Some say that eggs can be eaten in unlimited quantities, and they will not have any effect on cholesterol levels. Others are convinced that eggs will have to be completely abandoned.

First, it is important to decide on what kind of eggs we are talking about. You need to understand that each type of egg has its own characteristics. Consider chicken eggs as they are most commonly eaten in modern society. You must also understand that eggs can contain different types of cholesterol. Also, not all parts of it contain this substance. And of course, it is important to understand exactly how much is contained.

So, ordinary chicken eggs contain cholesterol. But it is found exclusively in the yolk. Protein does not contain this substance. Therefore, it is not difficult to conclude that a person can safely eat chicken yolks, in almost unlimited quantities, while excluding protein.

The size of the egg itself is also important: the larger it is, the more substance it contains. The smaller the egg, the less cholesterol it contains. Average values are 200-300 mg per 100 grams of product. This is a fairly high rate, especially for a person with metabolic disorders. It should be borne in mind that, as a conditional norm, a person should consume no more than 200 mg of the product. Accordingly, if a person consumes one egg per day, he receives the required amount of cholesterol, and sometimes even more. Nevertheless, as practice shows, people rarely consume 1 egg. Typically, a person eats at least 2-3 eggs per meal. And if you take into account that almost all confectionery products contain eggs (one cake can contain up to 10 eggs). Salads, many pastries, various dishes include eggs. Therefore, you need to count not only clean eggs, but also all products that contain them. 

Eggs are nutritious - they are a source of: protein, vitamin D, A, B2, B12, folate, iodine. [1]

You also need to pay attention to the form in which the eggs are used. Raw eggs are considered the most dangerous, since they contain quite dangerous cholesterol, which is almost completely absorbed by the body. But boiled eggs will be less dangerous, since they partially neutralize cholesterol. Accordingly, partially destroyed cholesterol accumulates in the body, causing negative effects on the body.

There are many examples according to which you can visually assess how true all the stories about eggs are.

Patient B. Tells that he has been taking raw eggs in the morning on an empty stomach every day since childhood. This is how his mother taught him: this is the prevention of colds, stomach diseases. But over time, the patient was diagnosed with high cholesterol levels. The doctor recommended a special diet. The patient reduced the amount of fried, smoked, fatty foods, almost completely eliminated sauces, additives, mayonnaise. The patient completely revised his diet, his daily routine, and began to actively engage in sports. But he continued to take a raw egg in the morning. Doctors regularly monitored cholesterol levels. If all the recommendations were followed, its level dropped sharply. He reached the norm. It can be concluded that not eggs, but the daily routine and diet in general, negatively affects the level of cholesterol.

Patient H. Tells that he is consuming eggs despite the fact that the next examination revealed high cholesterol levels. The patient loves eggs, eats them quite often. And it does it in almost any form: fried, boiled, and even raw. Also, the patient is not averse to eating cakes. After the high cholesterol level was identified, I had to revise my diet. With regard to eggs, the doctor suggested one trick: you can use them. But at the same time it is necessary to exclude the yolk from the diet, which is a source of cholesterol. Protein can be safely consumed further.

Doctors say that in no case should you completely exclude eggs from your diet. It should be borne in mind that in addition to cholesterol, eggs also contain other substances, for example, vitamins, proteins, essential amino acids, which must necessarily enter the human body. If we take into account the fact that eggs are part of various culinary dishes and masterpieces, then the conclusion suggests itself that this is almost impossible to do. However, doctors say they should be consumed with caution, especially if your cholesterol is high or at risk of developing it. So, you need to revise your diet: the yolk must be completely excluded, or not more than one per day should be consumed. You also need to look at the composition of those dishes and products that are used. If the composition includes eggs, then you need to reduce the amount of yolk. When it comes to protein, it can be consumed in any quantity, practically without limiting yourself.

How many chicken eggs can you eat per week?

Assuming that the daily requirement for cholesterol is 200 mg, and one egg contains 200-300 mg, depending on the size. It should be borne in mind that there is cholesterol in the yolk, and it is completely absent in the protein. Accordingly, no more than one egg can be consumed per day. This is taking into account the fact that eggs are not included in other dishes and products. It is not difficult to make elementary calculations and answer the question: "How many eggs can you eat per week?" You can eat no more than 7 eggs per week. The secret is that we are talking exclusively about the yolks. In the use of proteins, you can not limit yourself.

Eggs and cholesterol have long been fanned by various myths and legends. Many people talk about this today. Both ordinary people and experts speak about the benefits and dangers of eggs. We are talking about both chicken and quail eggs. Opinions are divided: some argue that eggs are useful, while others say that they are harmful, and in the case of high cholesterol, in no case should they be eaten. Some say that eggs can be eaten in unlimited quantities, and they will not have any effect on Patient X's cholesterol level, eggs will have to be completely abandoned.

Modern scientific research is changing some of the traditional views on cholesterol in eggs. Moreover, there are possibilities for its use with high cholesterol. The first and easiest option is to consume no more than one egg yolk, excluding the protein. The second possibility is that the eggs can be boiled and eaten as they are. In this case, cholesterol is partially destroyed, and is not completely absorbed. At the same time, cholesterol content is sharply reduced, and it has a less traumatic effect on the body.

You need to eat eggs, strictly controlling the cholesterol content. Average values are 200-300 mg per 100 grams of product. As a conditional norm, a person should consume no more than 200 mg of the product per day.

Modern research indicates that you need to pay attention to what kind of eggs are used. Raw eggs are considered the most dangerous. Accordingly, partially destroyed cholesterol accumulates in the body, causing negative effects on the body.

A number of studies indicate that you should never completely exclude eggs from your diet. However, they need to be consumed with caution, especially with high cholesterol levels, or at risk of developing it. Assuming that the daily requirement for cholesterol is 200 mg, and one egg contains 200-300 mg, depending on the size.

Do eggs raise cholesterol?

Perhaps one of the main questions that doctors often hear: "Do eggs raise cholesterol?" Let's figure it out. So, with excessive consumption, eggs can increase cholesterol levels. This is understandable due to the fact that eggs contain cholesterol. You do not need special knowledge in order to draw the appropriate conclusion: excessive use of them will certainly increase cholesterol levels. So, one egg contains 200-300 mg of the substance in question. Patients at risk of cardiovascular disease should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg / day (both in the NCEP Step 2 diet and in the American Heart Association guidelines). [2]

This fully covers the daily human need for cholesterol. Accordingly, if you eat more eggs, your cholesterol level will increase. It should be noted that we are talking exclusively about yolks, since white does not contain cholesterol. 

Consumption of eggs has been shown to promote the formation of large LDL cholesterol, in addition to a shift in individuals from the LDL B pattern to the A pattern, which is less atherogenic. Eggs are also good sources of antioxidants. [3], [4]

Ingestion of egg yolks causes inflammation, characterized by increased levels of C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A, but this effect is more pronounced in lean people without insulin resistance. [5]

Supporters of the consumption of eggs has repeatedly pointed out that the two major epidemiological study  [6],  [7] did not show harm from the use of eggs in healthy people. However, they do not mention that both of these studies showed that in participants who became diabetic during follow-up, consuming one egg per day markedly increased cardiovascular risk compared to less than one per week. The first study - a study of healthcare professionals - included doctors and nurses, and showed a doubling of cardiovascular disease in men who developed diabetes during the course of the study. It also showed a significant increase in new-onset diabetes with regular egg consumption.

The second study also showed a doubling of cardiovascular risk with regular egg consumption in participants who developed diabetes during the course of the study, but not in people who remained healthy and diabetes-free.

In these two studies, the failure to show egg harm in healthy individuals is likely a statistical power problem: in healthy individuals, a larger study with a longer follow-up period will be required; in diabetic patients whose risk of coronary artery disease is equivalent to that of coronary artery disease, the statistical power was sufficient to demonstrate the harmful effects of egg yolks. A recent re-analysis of the smaller Doctors for Health study  [8] showed no increase in cardiovascular disease, but found that regular egg consumption doubles all-cause mortality. Two recent studies  [9],  [10] also showed that the consumption of eggs increased the occurrence of diabetes, independent of other dietary factors.

Where is the cholesterol in the egg?

The question is quite natural. In order to plan your diet, you need to clearly know where exactly the cholesterol is in the egg? It is important to understand whether cholesterol is found in the protein or in the yolk. It turns out that cholesterol is contained exclusively in the yolks, respectively, in the protein it is not. Therefore, limiting the amount of protein is pointless. You need to limit only the yolk. It is also important to understand how much cholesterol is in an egg. This is important, since there are restrictions: no more than 200 mg of cholesterol can be consumed per day. One chicken yolk contains 200-300 mg of this substance, depending on the size. If you eat medium-sized eggs, you will have to limit yourself to one egg per day. You need to remember that we are talking about yolks.

Cholesterol in chicken eggs

It has long been known that chicken eggs contain cholesterol. Therefore, they need to be taken in limited quantities, especially with high blood cholesterol levels. However, few people take into account the fact that it is found exclusively in the yolk. Therefore, when they say that eggs need to be limited, it is about limiting the egg yolk. There are no such restrictions on protein. Protein does not contain this substance. Quantitative indicators are also important: if a person eats one egg per day, he receives the required amount of cholesterol, and sometimes even more. Thus, a person can afford to eat no more than 1 egg per day. At the same time, one must not forget that salads, many pastries, various dishes include eggs.

Moreover, you need to understand that raw eggs are considered the most dangerous, since the cholesterol of raw egg yolk is almost completely absorbed by the body. Boiled eggs will be less dangerous. Almost all doctors say that in no case should you completely exclude eggs from your diet.

Cholesterol in quail eggs

At first glance, it may seem that a quail egg is small in size, therefore it contains little cholesterol. But the size is wrong. In fact, quail eggs are richer and more concentrated. In quail eggs, the level of cholesterol is significantly higher than that in chicken eggs and reaches 850 mg. Considering that the level of daily intake of cholesterol should not exceed 200 mg, a person who has problems with cholesterol levels cannot even consume 1 egg. Considering that cholesterol is contained exclusively in the yolks, we can conclude that no more than a quarter of a quail egg can be consumed per day. Protein can be consumed in unlimited quantities.

With high cholesterol, in principle, you can eat quail eggs, but this should be done very carefully. You need to eat exclusively proteins. The yolk contains an incredibly high amount of cholesterol, 4-5 times the daily requirement of a person. In addition, the cholesterol contained in quail eggs is poorly absorbed by the body, extremely active and harmful. A person can eat no more than a quarter of the yolk. You can eat no more than one quail yolk per week.

Can I eat eggs with high cholesterol?

It all depends on how high your cholesterol level is. The doctor can answer the question whether it is possible to eat eggs with high cholesterol. It should be based on the results of laboratory tests. So, the daily requirement is 200 mg per day. This is one chicken egg. We exclude quail eggs, since the cholesterol level in it is excessively high and is 850 mg. Chicken eggs contain an average of 250 mg of cholesterol. Accordingly, a person with high cholesterol can eat no more than a quarter of a quail egg per day. As for the chicken, a person can eat no more than 1 chicken egg per day. Considering the fact that other foods and dishes contain eggs, and also considering the low digestibility and initially high blood cholesterol levels, the recommendation becomes obvious that the daily dose should be halved. Thus, it is recommended to consume no more than 100 mg of eggs per day. This is half a chicken yolk. In a week, this figure is no more than 700 mg, respectively, no more than 3-4 chicken eggs per week (yolks). This restriction does not apply to proteins. They can be eaten in any quantity.

Thus, eggs and cholesterol are concepts that go hand in hand. With high cholesterol levels, you need to strictly control the amount of eggs consumed, or rather, egg yolks.

It is important to know!

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) is defined as the remaining amount of cholesterol in the blood serum after the deposition of apo-B-containing lipoproteins (low and very low density lipoproteins). Read more..

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