Eggs and Cholesterol Levels


A lot of people still believe that foods high in cholesterol raise blood cholesterol levels...makes sense right? High blood cholesterol is "bad" so eat less of it?

Firstly though, cholesterol is actually vital for us to live! Without it we would not be able to produce any testosterone, oestrogen or cortisol. Because it is so important, the liver can actually manufacture cholesterol. We now know that consuming foods high in cholesterol has little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels, simply as when we consume more through the diet the body produces less!
High blood cholesterol is actually a symptom of other issues, as too much cholesterol is being produced by the liver.  But why would this happen?

There are different types of cholesterol and foods such as eggs whilst having little to no impact on LDL levels (the bad cholesterol), can actually increase the HDL levels (good cholesterol).

Now, we are able to measure the individual levels of the different types of cholesterol, we know that high LDL cholesterol is considered to indicate a risk whilst high HDL levels relative to LDL is seen as healthy. It is a diet high in refined carbohydrates (when calories are also in a surplus) that is the main cause of an increase in the VLDL (a precursor to LDL) levels resulting in higher LDL levels. It is these high levels of LDL cholesterol that can lead to the risks commonly associated with “high cholesterol levels” such as coronary heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats, like those found in eggs and particularly omega 3 enriched eggs will actually increase the HDL levels.  Why are higher HDL levels a good thing?  Well it is the HDL cholesterol that is responsible for effectively “mopping up” the LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream and artery walls by then transporting it back to the liver!

VLDL cholesterol is responsible for transporting fatty acids around the blood for storage, once they have deposited their fat triglycerides and they are no-longer carrying them they are now Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). We can see the numbers of the two are linked together, high VLDL is likely to result in high LDL


and high LDL is an indicator of a risk of heart disease. When there is too much fat to be transported and stored the liver produces more VLDL and hence more LDL can be detected in the blood. It is actually the diets high in refined carbs and to an extent the trans fats that are far more responsible for high LDL levels as these are what lead to greater need for fat storage. So consuming a diet high in calories and particularly refined carbohydrates is what leads to high LDL cholesterol levels and not the cholesterol we eat from out food!

I have worked with many people who have had their blood cholesterol significantly reduced and many have been able to come off their medication yet their diets have consisted of red meat and eggs. But the reduction in calories and refined carbohydrates has allowed them to do so.

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