Health Myths – Eggs Raise Cholesterol

In Blog, Health, Nutrition, Podcasts by Wendy Christien

Although eggs are a source of cholesterol, they will not increase your cholesterol levels. 

Eggs, in fact are healthy fats. Cholesterol is more likely to be raised by unhealthy fats and sugars. Eggs are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are actually good for you and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol is not all bad.

Likewise, not all fat is bad. Fat is not the enemy, unhealthy fats, refined carbs and sugars are.

Cholesterol is a structural molecule that is important for every cell membrane. It is also needed by the body to make steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. The liver is the organ that regulates cholesterol levels. If the diet is higher in cholesterol rich foods, the liver will make less cholesterol to maintain the balance. If unhealthy fats are eaten, these will build up in the liver and increase cholesterol levels.

Low fat products are not necessarily better because many low-fat products are loaded with sugar to make them taste better. 

Our bodies need enough fat for energy, providing warmth, fertility and cushioning our bodies. Fats are also necessary to help our bodies absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Too little body fat can lead to infertility

Many healthy fats are good for our bodies and help to reduce cholesterol. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the better fats to be consuming. These include avocado, nuts, olive oil, oily fish, coconut oil and butter. The bad fats that we want to avoid are trans fats. 

Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat that come in natural and artificial forms.

Natural trans fats occur in the meat and dairy products of cattle, sheep and goats and are formed naturally when these animals digest grass. Moderate intake of this type of trans fat is not harmful.

The harmful trans fats are those that are produced artificially. These are partially hydrogenated fats that are chemically altered so that they stay solid at room temperature and to give them a longer shelf life. Certain vegetable oils, like canola and soyabean oil, are also partially hydrogenated and are therefore also a risk to consume. It’s these artificial trans fats that increase risk for heart disease because they significantly increase LDL (bad) cholesterol without increasing the good cholesterol HDL.

Apart from raising cholesterol, trans fats also increase inflammation in the body which further increases the risk for heart disease, but also puts you at risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and arthritis.

So, back to eggs…..

Eggs are highly nutritious and full of many vital nutrients. 

Eating eggs daily will not negatively influence cholesterol levels. The average study has allowed 3 eggs per day with little to no negative effect on cholesterol.

They are, however, high in nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants that reduce the risk of eye disease. They are also a very good source of choline which is beneficial for all cells. The yellow of the egg, being a healthy fat, increases satiety so helps you feel full and satisfied for longer after eating them.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 29 April 2021 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am