Public health advise is full of old and debunked “truths” about why blood cholesterol levels increase and what the role of the cholesterol really is. “Eggs raise cholesterol.” “We should eat low-cholesterol foods.” “High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardio-vascular disease.” None of this is true: high cholesterol is not necessarily a consequence of eating too many eggs, but another thing seems to be true – high cholesterol seems to be a consequence and not a reason for cardio-vascular disease.
Eggs vs. carbs
Eggs have been demonized beyond reason. The underlying logic is the myth, that the more cholesterol we eat, the more cholesterol we have flowing through our veins. The (not so) new findings show, that
- the body itself produces 80% of the cholesterol,
- the raise of cholesterol is due to eating too much carbs or carbs and fats combined and it gets even worse if we are chronically overfed.
What is dangerous then?
It’s worth repeating that there are some dangers related to the blood lipids, including cholesterol, that are risk factors for cardio-vascular disease:
- high level of triglycerides
- low level of HDL cholesterol
- HDL vs LDL ratio 0.4 or less.
Eggs: the research is mounting
In recent years there have been a stream of research showing how eating eggs is actually good: eggs are basically the superfood, why egg yolks are not to blame, eggs improve the function of cholesterol … and the new one, published in the journal Nutrients. 30 participants were enrolled for a 13-week intervention. The participants were split into two groups: each got either 3 eggs daily or a choline bitartrate supplement – and then switched the regimen for another 4 weeks (including 3 weeks wash-out period). Periods on eggs resulted in higher blood levels of total cholesterol, but the ratio between LDL and HDL was not changed. This is the key finding: dietary cholesterol from eggs appears to regulate the body’s ability to produce cholesterol in a way that preserves the LDL/HDL ratio – a key marker of heart disease risk (Lemos et al., 2018).
LEMOS, B.S., MEDINA-VERA, I., BLESSO, C.N. and FERNANDEZ, M.L. 2018. Intake of 3 Eggs per Day When Compared to a Choline Bitartrate Supplement, Downregulates Cholesterol Synthesis without Changing the LDL/HDL Ratio. Nutrients, vol. 10, no. 2, pp., 10.3390/nu10020258
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