Understanding Eggs and Cholesterol

egg with a yolk in the shape of a heart

Eggs are both nutritious and safe to eat. Many people are concerned about cholesterol levels in eggs. Here we’ll explain how you can safely include eggs as part of a nutritious diet.

Eggs are nutritious

Eggs are nutrient packed – the yolk and white provide several essential nutrients. The egg yolk includes Vitamins A, D, E and B12, riboflavin, selenium and folate while the white provides a good source of high-quality protein. With 5 grams of fat per egg, and no trans fat, eggs can easily fit into your daily fat recommendation. Eggs are a versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of different ways for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some eggs have omega-3 fatty acids, which may help in the protection against cardiovascular disease. Canada’s Food Guide recommends including a variety of protein foods, like eggs, at each meal. 

Understanding cholesterol and eggs

Your body naturally produces cholesterol, a waxy substance that it needs to make hormones and digestive fluids. Your liver is capable of making all the cholesterol your body needs – this is called blood cholesterol. You can also get cholesterol from food – this is called dietary cholesterol. Animal foods like beef, chicken, pork and eggs have cholesterol. Vegetables and plant-based foods do not have cholesterol.

High blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease. At one time, it was thought that dietary cholesterol was the main reason for high blood cholesterol levels but more recent research has shown that this is not the case. Although some foods contain high amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat have a higher impact on blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. There are many reasons why you may have high blood cholesterol levels. Genetics, and your diet are two factors that impact your blood cholesterol levels.

If you are concerned about your blood cholesterol levels, it is important to limit foods that are high in saturated and trans fats as well as cholesterol. These are important first steps in managing heart disease. Read more about lowering your cholesterol here

How many eggs can you eat in a day?

As with most foods, eggs should be eaten in moderation. If you are in good health and do not have a history of heart disease, you can include eggs as part of a healthy diet. Studies have not shown a link between eating eggs causing higher cholesterol. 

If you have high cholesterol levels, heart disease or type 2 diabetes, you should speak to your dietitian or healthcare provider about how many eggs are right for you. You may be advised to eat no more than 1 to 2 eggs per week and limit foods that are high in saturated fattrans fat and cholesterol. 

How can a dietitian help?

dietitian can work with you to plan nutritious meals that meet your specific needs and goals and that consider your medical history, lifestyle and culture. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, a dietitian will give you specific recommendations on how many eggs you can eat, how much and what kind of fibre to eat, how to reduce saturated fat intake, and much more! Connect with a dietitian today

Bottom line

Eggs are a good source of protein and many vitamins and minerals. Enjoy them as part of a nutritious, balanced diet. If you have high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes or heart disease you should consider limiting eggs to 1 to 2 per week. 

You may also be interested in:

Facts on Cholesterol
Facts on Saturated Fat
Facts on Fat
Top 5 Reasons to See a Dietitian

This article was written and reviewed by dietitians from Dietitians of Canada. The advice in this article is intended as general information and should not replace advice given by your dietitian or healthcare provider. 

Last Update – June 8, 2022

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