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Eggs and Cholesterol: A Closer Look at the Controversy

Eggs, especially the yolks, are known to be full of cholesterol. However, the link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels isn’t as simple as once thought.

While it’s true that eggs are a big source of dietary cholesterol, research has shown that the cholesterol in food has a smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet. In fact, eating eggs can raise both total and LDL cholesterol, but also HDL, often called “good” cholesterol.

Moreover, it’s important to note that dietary cholesterol isn’t the same thing as blood cholesterol. Eating cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean that your blood cholesterol will go up. A 2019 American Heart Association science advisory report on dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk found that research does not support a link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk.

Current guidelines suggest keeping dietary cholesterol “as low as possible without compromising the nutritional adequacy of the diet”. However, eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, providing important nutrients including protein, vitamin B12, and choline.

A 2020 analysis from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating at least one egg per day was not linked with incident heart disease risk after adjusting for lifestyle and dietary factors. Further analysis showed that moderate egg consumption (up to one egg per day) is not linked with heart disease risk overall.

In conclusion, while eggs do contain cholesterol, they also offer many nutritional benefits. Most people can include eggs in their diet without worrying about raising their cholesterol levels or heart disease risk. However, individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, should talk to a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

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