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True or False: Eggs raise cholesterol levels

The correct answer is ..

FALSE: Recent observational studies and meta-analyses have found that eating eggs may not increase your risk of heart disease or its risk factors, like inflammation, stiffening of the arteries, and high cholesterol levels.

Although egg yolks are a major source of cholesterol — a waxy substance that resembles fat — researchers have learned that saturated fat has more of an impact on cholesterol in your blood than eating foods that contain cholesterol. “Healthy individuals with normal blood cholesterol levels should now feel free to enjoy foods like eggs in their diet every day,” the lead researcher from a 25-year University of Arizona study on cholesterol concluded.

A few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) — the gold standard of scientific research for their ability to reduce bias — note similar findings, though typically in smaller study groups of 20–50 healthy adults.

For example, one small RCT found that when compared with an egg-free high carb breakfast, eating 2 eggs or a 1/2 cup (118 mL) of liquid eggs for breakfast had no significant effects on blood cholesterol levels.

RCTs in people with diabetes have found that eating 6–12 eggs per week didn’t negatively affect total blood cholesterol levels or heart disease risk factors. Rather, it increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. It removes other types of cholesterol from the blood, so higher HDL levels are favorable.

On the contrary, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is often referred to as the bad type of cholesterol because it raises your risk of heart disease.

For a healthy adult with normal cholesterol levels and no significant underlying heart disease risk factors, some research suggests that 1–2 eggs per day can be safe. It may even be healthy and benefit your heart health. A small study in 38 healthy adults found that as many as 3 eggs per day improved LDL and HDL levels and the LDL-to-HDL ratio.

In conclusion, for most healthy adults, it’s safe to eat 1–2 eggs a day depending on how much other cholesterol is in your diet. If you already have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease, it may be best to eat no more than 4–5 eggs per week.

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