Do Eggs cause High Cholesterol

Eggs and cholesterol

One question I get a lot from people who want to start a healthier diet is about eggs and their link to cholesterol. 

The answer is simple: No, eggs do not cause high cholesterol. 

Over the years, misinformation about food components like salt and fats has spread, causing unnecessary fear.

It's important to remember that while too much of anything can be harmful, avoiding certain foods altogether can deprive your body of essential nutrients.

Cholesterol is one such nutrient that there has been a lot of fear-mongering about, and it is often linked to heart disease. 

Do eggs cause high cholesterol? Studies have shown that consuming eggs in moderation does not significantly impact blood cholesterol levels for most people.

In fact, eggs can be a valuable part of a balanced diet, providing essential vitamins and minerals.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found throughout your body, essential for building cells and making vitamins and hormones.

While cholesterol itself isn’t bad, having too much can be problematic, especially if you have high cholesterol and high levels of inflammation.

Your body has two main types of cholesterol:

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’.

Though your body does need some LDL cholesterol, LDL is necessary for transporting cholesterol to cells where it's needed. 

However, too much LDL can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow, especially with high levels of inflammation which is caused by things like smoking, poor diet and obesity.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is known as ‘good cholesterol.’ HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from your arteries, transporting it back to the liver where it’s processed and eliminated. Healthy fats can improve your HDL levels.

Cholesterol comes from two sources:

  1. Your Liver: Your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs. However, for some people, high cholesterol is not due to dietary intake but because their bodies naturally produce too much cholesterol. This can be influenced by genetic factors.
  2. Diet: Additional cholesterol comes from animal foods such as meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Tropical oils like palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil also contain saturated fats, which can increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

Certain foods high in saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels in the body.

For some people, this added cholesterol means they may be at risk of having a cholesterol level that is too high.

It's important to remember that genetics also play a role in cholesterol levels.

Some people are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, which means that even with a healthy diet, they might still have elevated cholesterol levels.

What Is In An Egg? 

Eggs are rich in antioxidants, high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats, and various trace nutrients.

One large egg contains 74 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.

Eggs are also rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins A, B12, B2, and B5 (among others), and contain about 169 mg of choline, which is a nutrient important for the brain.

The main reason Eggs have gotten such a bad reputation is because they contain cholesterol within their yolks, a lot of cholesterol, in fact.

A large egg contains about 207 mg of cholesterol within it, which is quite substantial compared to other foods. 

However, multiple research studies have shown no link between moderate egg consumption and heart disease.

One of the largest meta analysis of heart disease and the egg connection was done by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

How Do Eggs Affect Blood Cholesterol

In reality, even with their high cholesterol levels, eggs have little to no effect on the average person's blood cholesterol level. 

"Did you know that your liver adjusts cholesterol production based on your diet? How does this change your view on eating foods like eggs?"

Even if you ate a low cholesterol vegan diet your body would just make more cholesterol to compensate.

In fact, many studies have shown that the dietary cholesterol in eggs does not dramatically affect blood cholesterol levels. Eggs can even raise your "good" HDL cholesterol. 

On the other hand, factors like high sugar intake (especially fructose), refined grains, and imbalances in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can raise "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease.

What Causes High Cholesterol

Ok, so we know that high cholesterol is caused by having too much cholesterol in your blood. But how exactly do you get to that point?

High cholesterol is mainly caused by eating too many fatty foods, not exercising, being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol, and it can also run in families.

High cholesterol can be reversed through a combination of lifestyle changes, such as diet (which can include eggs), exercise, and medication if needed.

If you are concerned about heart disease, it is important to measure other markers in addition to cholesterol during a test. These markers include:

  • Apolipoprotein B (apoB): This protein is a component of LDL cholesterol and is considered a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk than LDL alone.
  • Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]: An inherited lipoprotein variant that can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease, particularly if present in high levels.
  • Homocysteine: An amino acid in the blood that, at elevated levels, can damage the lining of arteries and promote blood clots, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (HsCRP): A marker of inflammation in the body; high levels of inflammation have a greater risk of heart disease than high cholesterol
  • Fibrinogen: A blood protein essential for clot formation; elevated levels can contribute to arterial blockage and increase the risk of heart disease.

If you think you may have high cholesterol or if it runs in your family, check out Selfdecode to get a comprehensive breakdown of your genes and personalized insights to help you manage your cholesterol levels effectively.

Genetics plays a significant role in the risk of developing heart disease.

Here are five genes that are strongly linked to heart disease and you can get further information on action steps in the SelfDecode reports.

LDLR (Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor)

The LDLR gene provides instructions for making a receptor that binds LDL cholesterol, removing it from the bloodstream.

Impact: Mutations can lead to familial hypercholesterolemia, significantly increasing the risk of early-onset heart disease due to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

APOB (Apolipoprotein B)

The APOB gene codes for apolipoprotein B, a primary component of LDL cholesterol.

Impact: Mutations can result in higher levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, leading to an increased risk of heart disease.

PCSK9 (Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 9)

The PCSK9 gene is involved in the degradation of LDL receptors.

Impact: Certain mutations increase the activity of PCSK9, reducing the number of LDL receptors and increasing LDL cholesterol levels, thereby raising heart disease risk.

LPA (Lipoprotein(a))

The LPA gene encodes a lipoprotein variant that includes an additional protein called apolipoprotein(a).

Impact: High levels of lipoprotein(a) are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Genetic variations in LPA can lead to elevated lipoprotein(a) levels.

CETP (Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein)

The CETP gene is involved in the transfer of cholesterol esters to other lipoproteins.

Impact: Variants in CETP can affect HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. Some mutations reduce CETP activity, potentially increasing HDL cholesterol levels and influencing heart disease risk.

Understanding these genetic factors can help in assessing your cardiovascular risk and guiding personalized treatment plans for heart disease prevention.

Or check out the Extensive Cardiovascular Test for in-depth cardiovascular analysis. 

If you are not in the U.S or Australia and you want to get advanced cholesterol testing contact us to see if it can be done in your country.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, eggs have a slew of health benefits when eaten as part of a balanced diet and don’t cause high cholesterol. 

High Cholesterol is down to a multitude of factors from your lifestyle and diet choices to smoking and drinking habits, or can be hereditary.

But with a positive lifestyle and diet change, which can include eggs, you can actively increase your good cholesterol levels and reduce bad cholesterol within your body.

If you are concerned about heart disease I would encourage you to get some of the advanced cardiovascular markers tested to properly assess your risk.

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