Cholesterol: Understanding The Concept
Cholesterol refers to a waxy substance carried around by proteins and is oil-like in nature. There is misguided information that cholesterol is harmful to the body, on the contrary cholesterol is needed by the body to keep us healthy but only in right quantities. When these cholesterols are combined with protein they form lipo-proteins.
Eggs And Cholesterol
There are mainly two types of lipo-proteins; low-density lipo-proteins (LDL) commonly known as the bad cholesterol since it carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and the high-density lipo-protein as the good protein that carries cholesterol from the cells to the liver for elimination. Excess cholesterol can form a thick lining between the layers of the artery wall making it harder for the blood pumped by the heart to circulate. This layers form a blood clot, blood clots that block the artery that leads to the brain causes stroke while a clot in the artery that leads to the heart may cause heart attack both of which are fatal to the body.
The body (liver) therefore manufactures its own cholesterol and transports it through the blood but there are food supplements which also contain cholesterol, among of these foods are eggs.
Will Eating Eggs Increase Cholesterol Level In The Body?
A single egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol which is more than half the recommended daily dose of cholesterol intake (300 gm). However eggs contain the good cholesterol which is known as the HDL (high-density lipoprotein). It is important to note that high levels of HDL immensely lowers the risk of stroke, and other coronary heart diseases e.g. arteriosclerosis. Statistics show that higher level of HDL cholesterol were significantly associated with survival of up to 85 years after adjusting other factors associated with life longevity. HDL works in a process known as “reverse cholesterol transport”, it helps extract excess cholesterol deposited in the blood vessel and delivers it back to the liver for elimination.
As much as eggs are high in cholesterol, another good news is that the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal as compared to the effects associated with trans-fat and other saturated fats. The risk of coronary heart diseases maybe more closely associated with foods that accompany eggs in the conventional American breakfast e.g. sodium in the eggs, bacon and ham and the saturated fats used to fry eggs. Therefore when eggs are consumed by healthy persons and in a healthy manner, they do not adversely affect blood lipids and therefore no increase in their risk of heart disease.
However some diseases e.g. diabetes, hyperlipidemias and those people with genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia are highly advised to minimize their egg intake as there is increased chance for LDL increase in them relative to healthy controls. When deciding whether to include eggs in your diet, it is imperative to consider the recommended daily limits of your cholesterol intake i.e. if you are healthy the maximum limit should be 300mg and if you have diabetes or other cardiovascular diseases you should consume not more than 200gm daily. If you like eggs but don’t want to add extra cholesterol you may use only egg whites considering that all the cholesterol are concentrated in the yoke .Alternatively one may use cholesterol-free egg substitutes ,which are made with egg whites only.