Cracking the Cholesterol Myth
More than 40 Years of Research Supports the Role of Eggs in a Healthy Diet
Many Americans have shied away from eggs – despite their taste, value, convenience and nutrition – for fear of dietary cholesterol. However, more than 40 years of research have shown that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.
And now, according to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data (1), eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously recorded. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, a 14 percent decrease. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent.
Studies demonstrate that healthy adults can enjoy an egg a day without increasing their risk for heart disease, particularly if individuals opt for low cholesterol foods throughout the day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend that individuals consume, on average, less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. A single large egg contains 185 mg cholesterol.
Several international health promotion organizations – including Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation – promote eggs as part of a heart-healthy diet, recognizing that they make important nutritional contributions. (2)
In 2010, a random sample of regular large shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. The testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 12% and vitamin D increased by 56% from 2002 values.
Klein CJ. The scientific evidence and approach taken to establish guidelines for cholesterol intake in Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, and The United States. LSRO. 2006 www.lsro.org. Accessed November 2006.