A little bit of misinformation can have widespread consequences. Take cholesterol. More people know their cholesterol levels than the results of any other blood test. Yet few really know what their cholesterol numbers mean. And lately, doctors are finding that high cholesterol is not necessarily a risk factor for heart disease.
Cholesterol isn't the bad guy the medical community – and pharmaceutical companies – would have you believe. It's a fat that's essential for good health. And animal fats including chicken, beef, eggs, and dairy aren't the culprit either, because your body makes 85% of your cholesterol.
You need this waxy fat to use hormones and to form and maintain cell walls. You even need cholesterol to make one of the most important vitamin/hormones of all – vitamin D.
Another misconception about cholesterol is that you need to limit or avoid eggs, because they're so high in this fat. But the truth is, a recent study found that people eating three eggs a day only had higher levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol. This is great news. The only cholesterol you need to control is oxidized LDL. And eating eggs may be one way of doing this.
The researchers in this study looked at middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome. They had them consume either three whole eggs or an equivalent amount of egg substitutes daily. The participants eating the whole eggs were eating twice as much cholesterol as those eating the egg substitutes. Did it raise their cholesterol? Here's what the researchers found:
Those eating the whole eggs didn't have any effect on total blood cholesterol. But it did lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol. If it raised HDL and didn't change total cholesterol, then the eggs had to reduce LDL cholesterol, right? Absolutely! The researchers found that the whole eggs did reduce the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. And lower LDL cholesterol also means less LDL available to become oxidized.
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"Eating egg yolks was actually associated with enhanced health benefits in these high-risk individuals," explains Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez, lead study author and Professor at the University of Connecticut. "Subjects consuming whole eggs had greater increases in HDL cholesterol and more significant reductions in the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio than those who ate the cholesterol-free egg substitute."
In other words, eat your eggs – even if you're at high-risk for heart disease and heart attacks. The eggs may actually help you avoid further heart problems.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Edelman Public Relations. (2012, December 20). "Consuming Whole Eggs May Improve Blood Lipids According To New Research." Medical News Today.