Just Health

A storehouse of articles pertaining to diet and nutrition

The Egg and Cholesterol Relation


Common misconceptions keep many people, especially those worried about heart disease, from eating eggs regularly. This article is an attempt to unscramble the dietary facts and myths about the egg and also to find what recent researches have to point about the ‘egg and cholesterol relationship’.

The fact is that eggs are one of nature’s most perfectly balanced foods, containing all the protein, vitamins (except vitamin C) and minerals essential for good health.  The myth, yes the myth that ‘Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol” started because egg yolks have the most concentrated amount of cholesterol in any food.

It is understandable that you’re confused. Since eggs are high in cholesterol, and a diet high in cholesterol can contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels, we ideally should be avoiding eggs completely. 

 

Right?

Wrong because the researchers point out that it is the amount of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet which have a greater impact in raising blood cholesterol levels than does dietary cholesterol. . In the 1980’s science focused on the amount of cholesterol in eggs, however recent nutrition information indicates that it is more important to focus on reducing the intake of total fat and saturated fat rather than cholesterol. This is good news for eggs. It is not necessary to limit egg or egg yolk consumption unless recommended by your physician

Nutrition facts about eggs-

A large egg contains only a moderate amount of fat, with about 5 grams in only the egg yolk, (1.5 grams saturated), 213 mg of cholesterol and 75 calories and can easily fit into the daily fat limit of a healthy individual who is otherwise following a healthy , balanced diet.

Ø      Calories : 80

Ø      Protein : 6.3 grams

Ø      Carbohydrates : 0.6 grams

Ø      Total Fat : 5.0 grams

-          monounsaturated fat : 2.0 grams

-          polyunsaturated fat : 0.7 grams

-          saturated fat : 1.5 grams

Ø      Cholesterol : 213 milligrams

Ø      Sodium : 063 milligrams

As is evident, eggs have a high nutrient density because they provide significant amounts of vitamins and minerals and yet contain only 71 calories. They are an excellent source of high quality protein (i.e. they contain all the essential amino acids) as well as many B vitamins.

Egg white Vs Egg yolk

The nutritional value of an egg is divided between the egg white and the egg yolk.

1. Nutrient content-

The white contains more than half the egg’s total protein, niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfur and all the egg’s zinc. The yolk contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein. It also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E. Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. The yolk also provides vitamin B 12 and folic acid, and the minerals iron, calcium, copper and phosphorus.

2. Fat content and type-

The yolk contains approximately 190 mg of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat, less than a third of which is saturated fat. While each egg white is fat and cholesterol free, yolks contain 213 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 grams of total fat. Only 1.5 grams of the yolk’s fat is saturated, the kind of fat that is most likely to increase blood cholesterol levels. In fact, compared with dietary cholesterol, saturated fat exerts a four times stronger influence on blood choles- terollevels. Just published research actually saw an increase in the HDL or the “good” cholesterol levels of subjects who added an egg each day to their diet [Farrel et al. 1998. Am J Clin Nutr. 68: 538-544.].

3. Protein content-

One large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein. The protein is almost equally split between the egg white and the egg yolk. The white contains 3.5 grams of protein while the yolk contains 2.8 grams. Based on the essential amino acids it provides, egg protein is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition

The verdict-

There is no doubt that one large egg has about 213 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. If you are healthy, it’s recommended that you limit your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day. If you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, you should limit your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg a day. Therefore, if you eat an egg on a given day, it’s important to limit or avoid other sources of cholesterol for the rest of that day.

If you like eggs but don’t want the extra cholesterol, use egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites. If you want to reduce cholesterol in a recipe that calls for eggs, use two egg whites or 1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute in place of one whole egg.

So, healthy individuals can go ahead and eat an egg a day( preferably poached or boiled and not fried) but if you are above 40 yrs and have a history of cardio vascular problems, it is better to stick to egg whites and have whole egg only once or twice a week.

Above all, ensure that your diet is devoid of excess saturated fats (as in red meats, organ meats) and trans –fats (as in processed foods and snacks) and you are including enough of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your daily routine.

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One comment on “The Egg and Cholesterol Relation

  1. feerlessfood
    January 18, 2010

    Great post, thanks for putting it out there. I learned this myself a while back and have increased my eggs consumption a lot. They really are nature perfect food.

    Your post was automatically generated on my blog, so I thought I would check you site. I like it!

    Like

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2009 by in Nutrition and tagged , , , , , , .
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