Colorado Egg Producers


Heart health month always a good time to hash out the 'cholesterol myth'

Monday, February 12, 2018

As is the case each year in February (Heart Health Awareness Month), Colorado’s egg producers and myself can’t let the occasion pass by without reiterating how eggs do indeed have a place at the table of heart-healthy eating, after years spent unnecessarily on various nutritional no-no lists. 


There is an array of nutritional aspects to cover when it comes to the incredible, edible egg, but in this go-round, I’ll focus on what I call the “cholesterol myth.” 


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 now demonstrated that healthy adults can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease. 


In fact, research has shown that saturated fat may be more likely to raise a person’s serum cholesterol than dietary cholesterol. 


According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data, 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, down from 215 mg, a 14 percent decrease. 


The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent. 


Enjoying an egg a day can fall within current cholesterol guidelines, particularly if people opt for other low-cholesterol foods throughout the day. 


If you are concerned about dietary cholesterol you could choose to eat one whole egg plus two egg whites for a fulfilling meal to start the day. Although, nearly half of the protein and most of the vitamins and minerals are contained in the yolk so don’t skip the yolk altogether. 


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. 


The many other health benefits of eggs seem to more widely accepted by the general public. 


It’s widely known that eggs provide one of the highest-quality proteins of any food available, with one egg offering more than six grams of protein (13 percent of the recommended daily value). The protein quality in an egg is actually so high that the scientists often use eggs as the standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods. 


Additionally, the protein in eggs provides a steady and sustained source of energy compared to low fiber carbohydrate sources. 


Eggs also provide varying amounts of several B vitamins also required for the production of energy in the body, such as thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12 and B6. 


Eggs can even make other healthy foods more beneficial, as they increase absorption of powerful antioxidants, including vitamin E and lutein. 


And amazingly, one egg contains all of the nutritional benefits listed above, and yet has only 70 calories, allowing you to feel full longer, which is critical in maintaining a healthy weight. Eating eggs for breakfast has been proven to reduce hunger and decreases calorie consumption throughout the day. 


From the public's perception, though, the one drawback often associated with eggs is the risk of cardiovascular disease. 


But as we’ve detailed here, those days seem to rightfully be coming to a close, as technological and medical advances have allowed experts to better understand how eggs do indeed have a place at the table of heart-healthy eating.

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