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Do Eggs Really Raise Cholesterol?

A carton of eggs sits on a yellow surface.

Maybe you’re avoiding eggs right now because of the price, or maybe you’re avoiding them because you’ve heard they’ll raise your cholesterol. Well, it’s true that eggs are expensive right now, but the cholesterol bit might not be quite as true as you thought.

Do eggs raise cholesterol? They can, but there are a few things to know about your own risk factors before you swear off the food.

Most people can safely consume eggs in moderation without the additional risk of high cholesterol. The key, though, is that one word: moderation. Recommendations are typically for no more than one egg per day or seven eggs per week if you already eat a low-cholesterol diet. However, if you already have high cholesterol or are at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke, you might want to consider egg whites only.

Note: This article is not intended to be medical advice; before changing your diet, it is best to consult your doctor.

Why egg whites only? Well, here’s the good news if you are at higher risk of cardiovascular issues, stroke, or diabetes. The cholesterol in an egg is concentrated in the yolk with high LDL cholesterol levels (that’s the bad kind). Egg whites eliminate the risk of consuming extra cholesterol.

The other thing to consider is that eggs actually do contain several healthy nutrients. There’s choline which is great for your brain; lutein and zeaxanthin which are good for the eyes; and there’s little saturated fat.

The biggest issue for many isn’t an egg. It’s what they eat with the eggs. Bacon, sausage, and butter are all common breakfast items served with eggs, and they’re much more likely to raise your cholesterol.

Much like with other foods, the key to eating eggs in a healthy manner is to limit intake to only a few per week if you don’t have existing health conditions and aren’t at elevated risk for them. But if you do and don’t want to forgo them, grab yourself an egg separator and stick to egg whites only.

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