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Egg yolks are the yellow part of the egg. Egg yolk contains many vitamins, minerals, lipids, and proteins. However, many experts believe that egg yolk contains a high amount of dietary cholesterol, a lipid which can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
One egg contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol and the average recommended amount of cholesterol is 300 milligrams per day, so it is quite a condensed source of dietary cholesterol.
However, experts shifted their opinion on egg yolk recently stating that it is good for overall health. They now believe that egg yolk does not affect total cholesterol levels. This is because the body works hard to regulate its production of cholesterol levels and adjusts the body’s cholesterol levels based on what a person eats.
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans removed the limit of 300 mg per day, claiming that it has no effect on overall health. Nevertheless, the guidelines still advise people to limit their dietary cholesterol intake and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What Do Different Experts Think?
1- Egg yolk does not increase cholesterol:
Many healthcare experts believe that consuming egg yolk has no negative effects on a person’s overall health.
Research has shown that ingesting cholesterol has an insignificant effect on total blood cholesterol levels. This is because 80% of the cholesterol in the blood is produced by the liver. Dietary cholesterol only makes up 20% of the body’s cholesterol.
Eating egg yolk or whole eggs has no major effects on the blood cholesterol level compared to saturated fats. Both saturated and trans-fats impact blood cholesterol levels more strongly than dietary cholesterol.
Experts also claim that eating a combination of saturated fats and high carb meals increases cholesterol levels, but not eggs alone.
Current research supports the idea that egg yolk does not affect cholesterol levels. A study titled “Dietary Cholesterol Contained in Whole Eggs Is Not Well Absorbed and Does Not Acutely Affect Plasma Total Cholesterol Concentration in Men and Women: Results from 2 Randomized Controlled Crossover Studies” showed that whole egg consumption did not affect overall cholesterol levels in men or women.
Plus, experts argue that eating eggs can reduce your cholesterol levels as well as your risk for heart disease because eggs contain high amounts of the “good” HDL cholesterol which counteracts the effects of the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol removes the smaller LDL cholesterol molecules that stick to the artery walls, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and plaque buildup. Also, people who eat eggs have larger LDL cholesterol particles that cannot clog up the arteries.
Experts also point out that people’s cholesterol levels only rise when they eat eggs if their diet is rich in carbohydrates and low in fat. Studies show that people who reduced their carbohydrate intake experienced a drop in cholesterol levels, even when they ate eggs. Thus, carbohydrate intake is one of the main predictors of cholesterol levels, not egg consumption.
2- Egg yolk increases cholesterol:
Other experts argue that consuming egg yolk is harmful to people’s health. This is because egg yolk increases a person’s LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is responsible for the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which puts people at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
Experts warn that egg consumption can increase even healthy people’s cholesterol levels. One study, “Effect of dietary eggs and ascorbic acid on plasma lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol levels in healthy young men,” which lasted for 2 months indicated that a high cholesterol diet that includes eggs raises people’s cholesterol levels.
Doctors recommend that people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease should avoid eating egg yolk. Studies show that egg yolk can contribute to atherosclerosis. In the study, “Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: Not for patients at risk of vascular disease” indicated that people who are at risk for cardiovascular disease should not eat egg yolk because it contains a large amount of cholesterol and can increase the risk of heart disease.
Thus, despite recent evidence pointing out that egg yolk is healthy and cholesterol levels don’t matter, some health experts still think that egg yolk is a big contributor to elevated cholesterol levels and can increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
What Do You Think?
Share your thoughts on this topic in the forum below.
Vote “YES” if you think egg yolk affects cholesterol levels or “NO” if you think it doesn't.