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Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol?

Chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of egg consumption on blood cholesterol is minimal when compared with the effect of trans fats and saturated fats.

The risk of heart disease may be more closely tied to the foods that accompany the eggs in a traditional American breakfast — such as the sodium in the bacon, sausages and ham, and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry the eggs and the hash browns.

Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.

But the story may be different for people who have diabetes. In this ever-growing population, some research shows eating seven eggs a week significantly increases the risk of heart disease. Other studies have shown that egg consumption does not affect heart disease risk factors. More research is needed to prove the association between egg consumption and developing heart disease in people with diabetes.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating only 100 to 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day depending on your caloric level. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol — all of which is found in the yolk.

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.

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