The Incredible Myth About Eggs and Cholesterol
A few days ago, there was an incredibly interesting article published on Yahoo! Health regarding cholesterol. The basic premise of the article was to dispel myths regarding cholesterol and the health effects it has on the human body. One of the more interesting points it raised was the way the body handles cholesterol from eggs (specifically the yolk which cited references tracked back to an article published on ScienceNews.org1).
Most people are told that they should limit the amount of whole eggs they intake to reduce their cholesterol levels. While it is true that eggs are high in cholesterol (one whole egg can contain 60-75% of the daily recommended intake values of cholesterol), there is no differentiation on the nutritional label of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs - bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoproteins (HDLs - good cholesterol) or any indication to the size of the cholesterol globs in the food.
Eggs contain large blobs of LDLs which studies have shown to be less likely than small ones to infiltrate artery walls which lead to arterial plaque build-up. The team conducting the study, based out of the University of Connecticut, also found that when people ate three or more eggs a day, their bodies reacted by creating larger LDL and HDL particles. Not only did the eggs create the large globs of bad cholesterol (less harmful that smaller particles), but it also created more useful good cholesterol. These large HDL globs are more equipped to haul the bad cholesterol out of the bloodstream and eventually out of the body.
It should be noted that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that an individual should not intake more than 4 egg yolks per week while limiting other sources of cholesterol. The team from the University of Connecticut, led by Christine M. Greene, said that the problem with these recommendations is that they do not take into account the size of the LDLs being produced which is a major factor in the harmfulness of the cholesterol.
Later studies were performed by the Harvard School of Public Health and another from Michigan State University that confirmed the findings of the University of Connecticut study.
When it all comes down to it, everything in moderation. If you enjoy eggs, don't feel guilty about eating whole eggs. Just don't go overboard and eat a dozen whole eggs a day. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and you can even skip all the cholesterol/fat (along with half the protein content) and go straight for the egg whites.
1Reevaluating Eggs' Cholesterol Risks - View original article on ScienceNews.org