Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, and a diet high in cholesterol can contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. However, how much the cholesterol in your diet can increase your blood cholesterol varies from person to person. Although eating too many eggs can increase your cholesterol, eating four egg yolks or fewer on a weekly basis hasn't been found to increase your risk of heart disease.
When deciding whether to include eggs in your diet, consider the recommended daily limits on cholesterol in your food:
- If you are healthy, it's recommended that you limit your dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams (mg) a day.
- If you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or a high low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") blood cholesterol level, you should limit your dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg a day.
One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. Therefore, if you eat an egg on a given day, it's important to limit other sources of cholesterol for the rest of that day. Consider substituting servings of vegetables for servings of meat, or avoid high-fat dairy products for that day.
If you like eggs but don't want the extra cholesterol, use only the egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol. You may also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites.
Jan. 12, 2012
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- Large egg, whole, raw, fresh. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search. Accessed Oct. 20, 2011.
- Cooking for lower cholesterol. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Cooking-for-Lower-Cholesterol_UCM_305630_Article.jsp. Accessed Oct. 20, 2011.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.
- Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP III Final Report). U.S. National Cholesterol Education Program. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/atp3_rpt.htm. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.