Are Eggs Bad for Your Cholesterol?
When it comes to eggs, we get quite a lot of mixed signals. Whether it is about the origins of the chicken or whether the yolk is bad or good for you, this natural life source has been a hot topic of debate. I personally have seen health trends regarding the egg rise and fall several times over the course of two decades, and there is still no solid consensus. The burning questions of today are: Should we eat eggs? What is the best way to prepare an egg? And how does it help or hurt your cholesterol? We are finding out today!
The “creation” of the egg was more of an evolutionary advantage than most people realize. Paleontologically speaking, eggs with soft shells for fish and reptiles predate any eggs with hard shells. The earliest evidence of an egg with hard shells is dated at 312 million years ago, for the common ancestor of the modern-day turtle. These hard shells had the natural advantage of being harder for predators to get into the growing embryo. And it helped contain both the necessary water and nutrients for the growing creature inside. This advantage meant that the animals with hard shells no longer had to return to the water to give birth. Also, it gave them the option of living closer to their food source on land, ensuring their survival.
Why are Eggs Food?
Eggs, both hard and soft are considered food for carnivores and omnivores alike. This is because the yolk of the egg contains protein and nutrients that are specifically intended for the growth of the offspring. These nutrients range from minerals like selenium to zinc to vitamins B, K, and E.
The shell also provides a certain amount of calcium for predators and mother alike. Yes, even hens will eat their own eggs if they are running low on calcium and think that their offspring aren’t going to survive.
Humans are natural omnivores. If something doesn’t poison us, we will eat all sorts of meats, plants, and seeds to our heart’s content. Since they do contain a natural source of protein and vitamins our ancient ancestors and those of us today still eat eggs as part of our diet.
There are people who object to eating eggs from a moral standpoint, but there has been quite a lot of dietary confusion on whether or not eggs should be part of our diet at all. This all boils down to our understanding of how eggs affect our cholesterol levels.
How do Eggs affect your Cholesterol?
Eggs do contain a high amount of cholesterol, one egg almost has the daily value of it in our recommended diet. However, in the 80’s and 90’s when it was in vogue to eat only egg whites for fear of getting a heart attack, they had little understanding of how cholesterol worked. After a bit of research, we found out that the natural cholesterol found in foods do very little to increase the cholesterol in your bloodstream.
The heart attack inducing cholesterol comes from a diet in high amounts of saturated fat and simple sugars, not the natural cholesterol found in eggs and nuts. There are people among the general population that do have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol in the bloodstream from regular food, but those range from 10-30% of the general population.
So, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, one to three eggs a day are safe in your daily diet.
What is the Best Way to Prepare an Egg?
Well, another blog has the better answer to that one, so I will paraphrase what they listed in the form of a list.
- If you are trying to cut back on calories, choose poached or boiled eggs.
- Eggs go really well with vegetables.
- In general, pasture-raised and organic eggs are thought to be nutritionally superior to caged and conventionally-produced eggs.
- The longer and hotter you cook your eggs, the more nutrients you may lose. Using higher heat for longer may also increase the amount of oxidized cholesterol they contain. This is particularly true of pan frying.
The short answer is that no, for most people, eggs yolks do not raise your cholesterol. They provide protein and important nutrients, and this outweighs the effects of your bloodstream. Just be careful of the quality of eggs that you get and be moderate with how many you eat.