- Eggs aren’t necessarily bad for cholesterol, even though they contain a lot of dietary cholesterol.
- Eggs are often paired with bacon, sausage, and buttered toast in American diets, and these saturated and trans fat are much more likely to cause high cholesterol.
- In fact, research has found that eating one egg per day does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- This article was reviewed by Steven Reisman, MD, a cardiologist and the director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center.
- This article is part of Insider’s guide to High Cholesterol.
The food you eat plays an important role in your heart health. Certain foods can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries, causing atherosclerosis and potentially leading to high cholesterol or serious heart problems.
While it’s common to limit foods that are high in cholesterol — like eggs — foods high in saturated and trans fat may actually be worse for your arteries. Here’s what you need to know.
Eggs aren’t necessarily bad for cholesterol
According to Sonya Angelone, a nutrition consultant for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eggs are the most concentrated source of dietary cholesterol in our diets. There’s about 186 milligrams of cholesterol in one egg — all of which is concentrated in the yolk.
But in 2013, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology couldn’t find convincing scientific evidence that limiting dietary cholesterol had an effect on “bad” cholesterol in the arteries. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans even lifted its cholesterol recommendation of 300 milligrams per day in 2015, saying it didn’t have enough information to set a limit.
In fact, a 2020 study in the British Medical Journal found that people who ate about one egg per day were no more likely to develop coronary artery disease or stroke than people who didn’t eat eggs. Commenting on the study, dietitian Carrie Ruxton, PhD, noted that eggs don’t present a risk to blood cholesterol levels.
What experts have come to discover is that saturated and trans fats may contribute more to cholesterol levels compared to how much cholesterol you eat. That’s because most of your cholesterol — about 80% — is produced in the body, according to Harvard Medical School. Your liver converts saturated and trans fats into cholesterol, which has led nutritionists to believe that those fats are actually worse for you than dietary cholesterol.
Typical breakfast and brunch menus often pair eggs with bacon, sausage, and buttered toast. Many of those foods are high in saturated or trans fats, Angelone notes. So even if eggs aren’t doing too much to raise your cholesterol, your side dishes might be taking a toll on your…