Eggs & Cholesterol
Cholesterol: Clearing up the confusion
Today, thanks to years of research, we know more than ever about the relationship between diet, lifestyle and good health. It is becoming clear that old perceptions of some dietary issues are inaccurate. For example, research has shown that saturated fat in the diet and not cholesterol in foods has the most influence on blood cholesterol levels¹.
For most healthy people saturated fat intake is a more important factor than dietary cholesterol. Although eggs do contain some saturated fat more than half of the fat found in eggs is either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Reduce your total intake of fat and eat a balance of the different types of fat.
Two forms of cholesterol exist in your body:
- High-Density Lipoprotein good cholesterol.
- Picks up excess cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels and eliminates it from the body.
- Regular exercise can help maintain a high level of this good cholesterol.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein bad cholesterol.
- Carries cholesterol around the body and can deposit it in the walls of the blood vessels.
- Eating foods high in saturated fat and being overweight can lead to an increased level of this bad cholesterol.
Nutrition guidelines recommend that a healthy individual can have up to seven eggs a week and those on a cholesterol lowering diet can have four to six eggs a week.
1. Guide to Daily Healthy Food Choices, The Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health and Children, 2001.
2. Irish Heart Foundation Nutrition guidelines, 2007. www.irishheart.ie