Question:

How many egg yolks are allowed per week when trying to lower my LDL cholesterol?

– Theresa D. 

Based on my friend’s advice, I’m eating one boiled egg at each meal, that’s three times a day for me. But now I fear about the effects on cholesterol. So far, I’m good. But what is your advice about eating three eggs each day, every day. I do work out on the treadmill for 30 minutes and weight lift for 30 minutes every day. Regards,

– Abdu K. 

Answer:

Egg consumption in relation to high cholesterol levels was a much debated topic 30 years ago, but confusion still remains. On the whole, eggs are healthy – they contain many nutrients and are good sources of vitamins A and D. One egg yolk contains 5 grams of fat, including 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and approximately 186 mg of cholesterol. Though eggs are high in cholesterol, it’s the saturated fat that has greater impact on your blood cholesterol.  

Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.” – American Heart Association 

Prominent dietary sources of saturated fat are bacon, sausage, meat, eggs, butter, cheese and processed foods containing palm, palm kernel and coconut oils. It’s often how eggs are prepared (in butter) or served (with bacon, sausage, cheese, muffins, or scones) that’s the culprit in affecting dietary cholesterol. 

Most people can eat an egg daily without increasing their risk for heart disease. If you have diabetes, are at high risk for heart disease, or already have heart disease then it’s wise to limit egg consumption to no more than three per week. Remember that only the yolk contains the egg’s saturated fat, so these guidelines refer to whole eggs, not egg whites or egg substitute. 

Sources: 

  1. American Heart Association (n.d.) “Saturated Fat” https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats  Accessed 2.7.2020 
  2. Komaroff, Anthony, MD. (2019, June 24) “Are Eggs Risky for Heart Health?” Harvard Health Letter.  https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-eggs-risky-for-heart-health  Accessed 2.7.2020 
  3. Lopez-Jimenez, Francisco, MD. (2020, Jan. 9) “Eggs: Are They Good or Bad for My Cholesterol?” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468  Accessed 2.7.2020 
  4. Vannice, G and Rasmussen, H. (2014, Jan.) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Fatty Acids for Healthy Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(1): 136-153. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.11.001 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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