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Do Egg Yolks Cause Heart Disease?

I had my annual physical yesterday …

…including fasting blood work to make sure things are “in check.”

I’m anxious to get my Vitamin D levels tested – if you didn’t get a chance to read if you need to take vitamin D, make sure you check it out!

I’m also always interested in my lipid panel.  

So far it’s been a clean bill of health, but with my mom having genetically high triglycerides (to the tune of 500 mg/dL+, when they should be under 150 mg/dL), it’s important to make sure all is still on track.

Speaking of lipids – a recent study was published about egg yolks and HDL (known as the “good” cholesterol).

And that brings up the question: Do you eat egg yolks?  

It wasn’t long ago that yolks were the devil – and egg white omelets were all the rage – now egg yolks are back … and highly recommended from the Mohr Results Team.

While some still shun the yellow goodness in the egg, we know that egg yolks are fantastic for you.  

There has NEVER been a connection between eating eggs and heart disease.

And a recent study by researchers at the University of Connecticut supported the notion that eggs are fantastic for you, despite the high levels of cholesterol in them.

They found that after feeding groups an additional 640 mg of dietary cholesterol through egg yolks (about 200 mg of cholesterol/yolk) the plasma (in the blood) levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) were significantly higher than those who did not eat the additional dietary cholesterol from egg yolks.

I’ll let you know what my lab results are when I get them – I eat 2-3 whole eggs each day, so while my report is purely anecdotal, we’ll see how it pans out.

You see, while it was once though that eating dietary cholesterol meant it went directly to your arteries to form plaque, we now know that dietary cholesterol doesn’t play much of a role in plasma cholesterol…or heart disease for that matter.

In fact a study published in 2007 fed participants eggs daily, upwards of over 6 per week (so around 1 or more per day) and they concluded that “regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.”

Here’s the deal – the body makes cholesterol.  

So what basically happens when you eat dietary cholesterol is your cholesterol production slows.  

Or the reverse holds true – you don’t eat enough, which usually means way too little dietary fat, your body will do what’s called “upregulate” or make more to meet the body’s needs.

Outside of the cholesterol "concern," eggs are high in some nutrients that may be otherwise difficult to get in the diet – choline, which is great for brain health, carotenoids, which are important for eye health, and zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant.  And those are just a few of the benefits.

Moral of the story: don’t throw away the yolks.  

Egg yolks provide at least 13 important nutrients – egg whites don’t offer much outside of protein and a few other nutrients. 

Dietary cholesterol is NOT the devil it was once thought to be.  

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9 Responses to Do Egg Yolks Cause Heart Disease?

  1. Ray January 29, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    Interesting- Egg yolks are good again- Science seems only to be as good as the information it can obtain at that given point in time. I do eat whole eggs(1 a day-most days) and then I add egg whites(3 per day-also most days) in my energy shake before lifting and after a run normally, during off days I usually have a shake in the morning to start the day. I look to obtain the extra protein and play it somewhat cautionary on the cholesterol end. So I guess I'll keep it that way.

  2. Mike January 29, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    I used to have cereal for breakfast and was quite hungry an hour after eating. Now I have two eggs with an apple or banana and what a difference!

  3. Terri January 29, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    I'm amused by how research results change over the years.  Coffee used to be bad for you, egg yolks were bad….  The old adage "everything in moderation," especially when it comes to "normal" (not highly processed) food, is usually a good rule of thumb.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr January 29, 2010 at 8:26 am #

      Absolutely — the egg “thing” was always blown out of proportion, in my opinion, with everyone jumping to conclusions without having all the facts. But like you said, moderation is always the best option …

  4. Susie January 29, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    I agree about all things in moderation. My husband's grandmother is seeing one of the leading eye specialists in Houston that deal with macular degeneration and he recommends a daily egg (with yolk). As for heart disease… she is still going strong at 93!

  5. Marc Lebert January 31, 2010 at 5:22 am #

    Thanks for the great article guys! I train a Cardiologist and he has been telling me that for years. I enjoy eggs every day (freerange- from the bums of happy chickens!) and will be sure to share that article with clients!

  6. Denisse January 31, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Thank you.  Trying to convince my patients about this is not easy. However I can use articles like this to help inform/educate.  Keep the good articles/information coming, I always enjoy reading them!

  7. martin December 28, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    hello i was wondering im a bodybuilder 44 yrs old have been eating a dozen eggwhites for 20 yrs and a fellow weightlifter told me i can start having the yolks split half dozen in am and the other at night , but i just been having 6 whole eggs early in the day. should i not have to worry about cholesterol? i have always been very heathy , never had any health issues alway workout 5 days a week.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr December 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

      Egg yolks are fine if no pre existing cholesterol issues. Search our blog — we have a previous post about the topic.

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