Yes But, What about The Cholesterol?

For over 25 years eggs have unjustly been the icon for the fat, cholesterol and caloric excesses in the American diet, and the message to limit eggs to lower heart disease risk has been widely circulated. The “dietary cholesterol equals blood cholesterol” view is a standard of dietary recommendations, yet few consider whether the evidence justifies such restrictions.

Over 50 years of cholesterol feeding studies show that dietary cholesterol does have a small effect on plasma cholesterol concentrations. Cholesterol feeding studies demonstrate that dietary cholesterol increases both LDL and HDL cholesterol with little change in the important LDL:HDL ratio. In fact, the American Heart Association has revised its dietary guidelines to allow an egg a day in your diet, if the rest of your daily cholesterol intake is limited.

Many misconceptions about the function of cholesterol in human nutrition may lead young mothers to be needlessly concerned about providing eggs to their children. Human milk contains more cholesterol than both cow’s milk or infant formula. For the infant who is weaning from breast milk or formula, no significant effect was found in plasma cholesterol levels when infants age 6-12 months when fed a diet including 4 egg yolks a week. As a matter of fact, current American Heart Association recommendations are not to restrict fat in the diets of children under two years old.

The benefits derived from cholesterol consumption during early childhood relate to cholesterol’s role in the development of the central nervous system as well as stimulation of enzymes needed for cholesterol degradation.

Additionally, when finances are tight, eggs are extremely inexpensive for the powerhouse of nutrition that they are. Eggs are portion sized so there is little wastage and can be refrigerated for up to a month saving many inconvenient trips to the grocery store. Since eggs are so versatile they can be prepared in an infinite number of ways and mixed with so many other healthy ingredients they are sure to keep boredom from interfering with a nutritious intake, and will make you seem like a gourmet chef time and again.

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