Cracking the Egg and Cholesterol Myth


cracked eggsI still have patients tell me they’re avoiding egg yolks because of the amount of cholesterol and the danger of heart disease. This is unfortunate, because egg yolks are very nutritious, and there is little evidence of any correlation between eggs and heart disease. A just released study has debunked the “eggs and cardiovascular risk” myth once again.  The unbiased non-egg industry authors conclude: “Higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.”

The fact is that eating cholesterol does little to increase the level of cholesterol in your system; saturated fats are a more likely culprit. But both cholesterol and saturated fats are necessary in the diet. Every cell in the body is made up of cholesterol and phospholipids — both abundant in egg yolk — as well as saturated fat, which keeps the cell from collapsing in on itself.

So the cholesterol naturally found in eggs is not a problem.  In fact, egg yolks are a great first food for a baby as they have an excellent fatty acid profile as well as abundant phosphatidylcholine for neuron and brain development.

It’s possible that cooking methods could be an issue.  The idea is that scrambling or frying the egg will create oxidized cholesterol (the unhealthy cholesterol),  although I could not find any evidence of this being true.  To be safe some suggest the best way to cook an egg is in the shell or poaching and that is what I do most of the time.

When selecting eggs, bear in mind that there is a big difference between the factory-farm egg yolks sold at Shaw’s and the egg yolks from a neighbor’s chicken.  Supposedly the cheaper store-bought eggs from large outfits have more oxidized cholesterol in the yolks because of the way the eggs are handled. Even comparing egg yolks from Shaw’s with something from Whole Foods — such as Country Hen or Vital Farms — one would appreciate a big difference in quality.  Egg yolks should be orange, and the standard grocery store ones are often a pale yellow at best.  If you have never had real eggs, the taste difference is also an eye opener.

Yours In Health

George Mandler

Licensed Acupuncturist
Licensed Dietitian
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified LEAP Therapist

 

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