Are chicken eggs good or bad for my cholesterol?

Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

Chicken eggs are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. They're also naturally high in cholesterol. But the cholesterol in eggs doesn't seem to raise cholesterol levels the way some other foods, such as those high in trans fats and saturated fats, do.

Although some studies have found a link between eating eggs and heart disease, there could be other reasons for these findings. The foods people typically eat with eggs, such as bacon, sausage and ham, might do more to boost heart disease risk than eggs do. Plus, the way eggs and other foods are cooked — especially if fried in oil or butter — might play more of a role in the increased risk of heart disease than eggs themselves do.

Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption might even help prevent certain types of stroke and a serious eye condition called macular degeneration that can lead to blindness.

But if you have diabetes, some research suggests that eating seven eggs a week increases heart disease risk. However, other research failed to find the same connection. Still other research suggests that eating eggs might increase the risk of developing diabetes in the first place. More research is needed to figure out the link between eggs, diabetes and heart disease.

Health experts now suggest eating as little dietary cholesterol as you can, aiming to keep intake under 300 milligrams (mg) a day. One large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk. If your diet contains little other cholesterol, according to some studies, eating up to an egg a day might be an OK choice.

If you like eggs but don't want the cholesterol, use only the egg whites. Egg whites contain no cholesterol but still contain protein. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitutes, which are made with egg whites.

With

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Jan. 21, 2022 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. After a flood, are food and medicines safe to use?
  2. Arcus senilis: A sign of high cholesterol?
  3. Birth control pill FAQ
  4. Cholesterol concerns? Get moving
  5. Cholesterol concerns? Lose excess pounds
  6. Cholesterol level: Can it be too low?
  7. Cholesterol medications: Consider the options
  8. Cholesterol ratio or non-HDL cholesterol: Which is most important?
  9. Cholesterol test kits: Are they accurate?
  10. Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers
  11. Cholesterol-lowering supplements may be helpful
  12. Coconut oil: Can it cure hypothyroidism?
  13. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  14. Prickly pear cactus
  15. Eggs: Bad for cholesterol?
  16. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  17. Five foods to lower your cholesterol
  18. Flaxseed best when ground
  19. Hashimoto's disease
  20. HDL cholesterol: How to boost your 'good' cholesterol
  21. Herbal supplements and heart drugs
  22. High cholesterol
  23. High cholesterol in children
  24. High cholesterol treatment: Does cinnamon lower cholesterol?
  25. Hypothyroidism: Can calcium supplements interfere with treatment?
  26. Hypothyroidism diet
  27. Hypothyroidism and joint pain?
  28. Hypothyroidism: Should I take iodine supplements?
  29. Hypothyroidism symptoms: Can hypothyroidism cause eye problems?
  30. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  31. Is your diet hurting your heart?
  32. Lowering Triglycerides
  33. Mediterranean diet recipes
  34. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  35. Metabolic syndrome
  36. MUFAs
  37. Niacin overdose: What are the symptoms?
  38. Niacin to improve cholesterol numbers
  39. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  40. Pomegranate juice: Can it lower cholesterol?
  41. Is there a risk of rhabdomyolysis from statins?
  42. Soy: Does it reduce cholesterol?
  43. Soy: Does it worsen hypothyroidism?
  44. Statin side effects
  45. Statins
  46. Statins: Do they cause ALS?
  47. Statins: Should you be on one?
  48. Lifestyle changes to improve cholesterol
  49. Trans fat: A double whammy
  50. Trans fat
  51. Trans fat substitutes: Not a slam dunk
  52. Triglycerides: Why do they matter?
  53. VLDL cholesterol: Is it harmful?
  54. Wilson's syndrome: An accepted medical diagnosis?