Cholesterol

Cholesterol

OK Everyday logoShould you be worried about cholesterol when eating eggs? The short answer is no, absolutely not. Eggs are an extremely nutritious part of a healthy diet and experts agree they are OK every day!

There are no specific recommendations on the frequency of egg intake within the Australian Dietary Guidelines, but they do indicate there is no reason why eggs cannot be consumed daily as part of a balanced diet that includes wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, lean meat and unsaturated fats.

The recommended protein serving for children and adults is between one and three serves every day. As a good source of high-quality protein, a serve of nutritious, delicious eggs are a welcome addition to your plate.

Understanding cholesterol

In Australia, 51% of adults have high blood cholesterol levels. But when it comes to addressing and managing it, the amount of cholesterol in food is less important than saturated and trans fats.

There are two main types of cholesterol in the body – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as bad cholesterol, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is good cholesterol. While both carry different fat molecules around the body, LDL particles can transport cholesterol into artery walls where it forms plaque and leads to heart disease. HDL’s role is to remove this build up from arteries.

Dietary cholesterol is obtained from animal foods, such as meat and dairy, while all plant foods are cholesterol free. But the cholesterol found in these foods only has a small impact on the LDL particles in your blood. Saturated and trans fats causes a much greater increase in LDL cholesterol. In fact, eating dietary cholesterol increases HDL which is important for heart health.

Dietary cholesterol increases the size of LDL and HDL particles, making LDL cholesterol less like to build up in arteries. This also makes HDL particles more effective in removing cholesterol from the arteries.

Cholesterol in eggs

Dietary cholesterol in eggs has almost no impact on blood LDL cholesterol – substantially less than saturated fat and trans fat intake. This means you should enjoy eggs as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Some people, known as hyper-responders, are sensitive to eating dietary cholesterol as LDL levels rise more quickly than in other people. If you want to know more about managing your cholesterol levels, speak to your doctor.