This morning I had a discussion with a co-worker about eating eggs for breakfast. He complained that he isn’t getting enough daily protein.
My first suggestion to him was to eat some eggs for breakfast instead of his usual health bar. Not only is the bar he eats low in protein, but it’s really high in sugars and saturated fats. I indicated that eating two large eggs for breakfast either scrambled with no butter or hard-boiled would give him a better boost in protein and would actually be better for him overall.
His response was: ‘No way! Eggs are bad for you! They give you really high cholesterol levels!’
Now I had to take exception to this statement, because I’ve actually done a little research on this particular topic.
Here’s a sampling of one report that I read:
Cracking the Cholesterol Myth More than 40 Years of Research Supports the Role of Eggs in a Healthy Diet Many Americans have shied away from eggs – despite their taste, value, convenience and nutrition – for fear of dietary cholesterol. However, more than 40 years of research have shown that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease. And now, according to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data (1) , eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously recorded. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, a 14 percent decrease. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent. Studies demonstrate that healthy adults can enjoy an egg a day without increasing their risk for heart disease, particularly if individuals opt for low cholesterol foods throughout the day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend that individuals consume, on average, less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. A single large egg contains 185 mg cholesterol. Several international health promotion organizations – including Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation – promote eggs as part of a heart-healthy diet, recognizing that they make important nutritional contributions. (2) REFERENCES (1) In 2010, a random sample of regular large shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. The testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 12% and vitamin D increased by 56% from 2002 values. (2) Klein CJ. The scientific evidence and approach taken to establish guidelines for cholesterol intake in Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, and The United States. LSRO. 2006 www.lsro.org. Accessed November 2006.
Here is another article that talks about specifically about cholesterol:
Cholesterol First, one has to understand that cholesterol is not necessarily bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers and produced vitamin D, among other things. Second, there are two types of cholesterol: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol . Both are important. Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls. What is bad, however, is the amount of LDL blood cholesterol in the body. Too much of it can cause heart problems, but scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol. Evidence showing that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn't increase blood cholesterol was discovered during a statistical analysis conducted over 25 years by Dr. Wanda Howell and colleagues at the University of Arizona. The study revealed that people who consume two eggs each day with low-fat diets do not show signs of increased blood cholesterol levels. So what does raise blood cholesterol? One of the main theories is that saturated fat does. Of the three types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels. It so happens that eggs contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, which can actually lower blood cholesterol if one replaces food containing saturated fat with eggs.
Bottom line: Eggs are a great source of protein and are much lower in dietary cholesterol that most people know. If you happen to have high cholesterol levels, be sure to talk to your doctor about eating eggs before you decide to remove them from your diet completely.