Should Eggs Add to Your Cholesterol Per Day: 4 Things to Change

There have been many bad recommendations perpetuated over the years about how much cholesterol per day you should take in. Do eggs count?  This confusion has been created by national organizations (American Heart, American Cancer, American Diabetic Association) combined with mainstream media’s interpretation of the medical research.  The research, on the other hand, has been extremely consistent with what has been good and bad for you.  Some examples include:

Eat fish because it’s good for you, then don’t eat fish because it’s loaded with pesticides (pesticides are in farm raised, which you should not have been eating in the first place).

  • Avoid salt to protect your heart then don’t worry because it might not help (the evidence was never strong in the first place).
  • Cut back on fat to protect your heart then take fish oils (the right type of fats have always been good for us).
  • Hormone replacement therapy for women was essential, then it causes heart disease and cancer (it was NEVER a good idea to screw around with Mother Nature’s original plan).

The list is obviously longer, but you get the idea.  So what about the egg story?  Eggs contain cholesterol, so they’re bad for us, right?

Only if you mistakenly believe that the cholesterol in our diet plays a strong role in the cholesterol in your bloodstream.  You can keep avoiding eggs.

For the rest of you, eggs can be part of a healthy lifestyle, which is confirmed in this particular study.  Researchers looked across multiple studies to get an idea of just how much eggs played a role in the risk of heart attack or stroke.  Here’s what they found:

  • An average of one egg per day had no effect on heart disease (Tweet this).
  • For stroke, one egg per day lowered the risk of stroke by 9%.
  • However, in diabetics, those with the highest intake of eggs had a 54% increased risk of heart disease.
  • This same group, though had a 25% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

So, the old myth that eggs are bad for your cholesterol and your heart just don’t hold true, although the story may be different for diabetics.

Here are some important considerations:

  1. I always steer patients towards “veg-a-fed” or “omega-3” eggs.  These chickens are fed flax seed, which raises the omega 3 content, a known protector of the heart.
  2. The yolk of eggs is very high in carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.  They are actually good for you.
  3. If you choose to cook them in a pan, use olive oil, not Pam or anything like that.
  4. Better yet, liven the dish up with spices, jalapenos, peppers and any other veggies you’re comfortable with.  You increase the phytonutrient value with hardly any caloric increase.

As for why the response may be different in diabetics, I could make some educated guesses as to why this finding occured, but it is still my gut feeling that, in the presence of the 4 factors noted above, the effect of egg intake on the heart would be at worst, neutral, and at best, protective.

How do you like your eggs?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “Should Eggs Add to Your Cholesterol Per Day: 4 Things to Change

  1. Do you subscribe to Dr. Gaby’s advice that when egg yolk is broken as in scrambled eggs, the cholesterol when heated is exposed to oxygen and heat at the same time and leads to toxic cholesterol byproducts? Never gave up on eggs but use hard boiled and poached.

  2. Pat,

    I did some checking to see if this has been verified and couldn’t find anything easily. Even Dr. Wright’s response to this question does not provide supporting evidence. Fats definitely have the potential to become oxidized when exposed to air, but if this was such a problem, you’d see issues with grinding flaxseed, using peanut butter, etc… As for now, unless I see anything in the future to support the concept, I would still recommend scrambled eggs loaded with spices and veggies and cooked in olive oil.

    Dr. Bogash

  3. Thanks .. I prefer scrambled or an omelet but was put off many years ago when a patient of Dr. Gaby. … appreciate your time to check this out. Pat

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