Keep eating eggs and you’re going to quickly clog your arteries and die of a heart attack. This advisory message comes to you courtesy of the conventional wisdom for much of the past few decades.
Fortunately, those of us who don’t just blindly accept what government agencies peddle have long known this to be a bunch of nonsense, even if the science is just now catching up. And it’s a good thing, too. Besides being absolutely delicious, eggs are also highly nutritious and are one of the best muscle building foods on the planet.
Yes, whole eggs are high in cholesterol, which is contained in the yolk. One medium egg contains approximately 186 mg of cholesterol. To put this in perspective, the USDA recommends limiting cholesterol to 300 mg per day or less. Just two medium whole eggs exceeds this recommendation.
According to the USDA, then, it would appear that eating three or four eggs every morning will put you on the fast track to a heart disease diagnosis, except that the USDA is out to lunch with its asinine recommendation.
The cholesterol found in eggs is not a danger to your arteries.
The Real Cause of Heart Disease Has Nothing To Do With Eggs
The cholesterol that clogs arteries, causes heart disease and precipitates deadly heart attacks doesn’t come from the cholesterol found in foods like eggs. The cholesterol that builds up in the arteries is a result of arterial inflammation.
When arteries become inflamed the body responds by coating its cells with a protective cholesterol-plaque to make them more resistant to inflammation in the future. When gone unchecked for a number of years, this plaque continues to build and build until the arteries experience more and more blockage, leading to heart disease.
The predominant culprits in the proliferation of arterial inflammation are, unsurprisingly, highly-processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in nearly all processed foods because they’re added in order to give them longer shelf life.
Omega 6 fats aren’t always detrimental to human health. In fact, omega-6’s are essential to our biology. They are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell. But, they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s or a chemical reaction ensues that’s a cholesterol accumulating nightmare.
When individuals maintain a diet that’s excessive in omega-6, as most Americans do, the cell membrane reacts by producing chemicals called cytokines that are known to directly cause inflammation.
In fact, today’s mainstream American diet doesn’t just lead to a slight imbalance in omega fats; It’s an extreme imbalance. The ratio of omega fats imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6 over omega-3 fats.
Considering the ideal ratio is considered to be somewhere around 3:1 you can see why heart disease is such a tremendous problem in America.
This severe imbalance in omega fats is the origin of a tremendous amount of cytokines being produced and causing chronic inflammation with the inevitable, subsequent buildup of cholesterol within the arteries.
This is why I make sure to take this high quality omega 3 supplement every single day and recommend that you do the same. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to protect your heart health by keeping your omega fats ratio more balanced.
Cholesterol From Eggs Doesn’t Increase Cholesterol Within The Body
Where did the belief that cholesterol from eggs causes cardiovascular problems come from?
It’s origins are found in the same musty place that spawned the belief that consuming fats directly leads to the accumulation of additional body fat. It was the result of people taking a complex process and dumbing it down to the false conclusion that what goes into the body remains in a similar state once ingested.
In other words, since cholesterol is found in the body, it seemed logical that the levels contained in the body must be directly related to the amount ingested through one’s diet.
It’s clear in the case of fat consumption that it doesn’t work this way. For instance, we know that some fats – like those that come from coconut oil – actually work to fight against the accumulation of body fat (see Coconut Oil Increases Testosterone).
It also doesn’t work this way with cholesterol.
While the body does receive cholesterol through dietary sources, it also has means of producing its own cholesterol in the liver, as well. You don’t hear this truth very often, but the body actually requires a certain amount of cholesterol to function optimally. The liver serves an extremely important function in this regard.
Cholesterol is used by the body to produce testosterone. This is why ingesting natural foods that are rich in cholesterol, like eggs, is a great way to elevate testosterone levels. Again, our focus shouldn’t be on the amount of cholesterol we’re consuming. Our focus should be on how the cholesterol within our body is being utilized.
Cholesterol being used to produce more testosterone is good. Cholesterol being used to sooth inflammation and contribute to clogging arteries is, obviously, not.
Unless a person has an allergy to eggs, consuming them isn’t going to cause inflammation and problematically contribute to arterial plaque buildup.
It’s also worth noting here that all eggs are not the same. Most eggs at the supermarket are from chickens that are raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and fed grain-based feeds.
Eggs sourced from CAFOs won’t directly contribute to the obstruction of your arteries, but they will be lacking in nutrition compared to eggs sourced from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms.
The healthiest eggs are those that come from hens raised on a pasture. The next best option are Omega-3 enriched eggs.
Either of these eggs will contain a much higher concentration of Omega-3s and other important vitamins, namely, vitamin A and vitamin E.
The Bottom Line
Eggs are an excellent source of muscle building, health-optimizing nutrition. They’re a source of complete protein (i.e. protein that contains all the essential amino acids required for muscle growth), provide our bodies with testosterone-regulating cholesterol, do not cause inflammation in normal, healthy, individuals, and are dense in essential vitamins.
Finally, because eggs are not a source of arterial inflammation, they’re not a significant contributor to the ongoing epidemic of heart disease.
And because everybody likes study results, I’ll leave you with the following conclusive statements from two distinct studies that examined the link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease:
“Analysis of the available epidemiological and clinical data indicates that for the general population, dietary cholesterol makes no significant contribution to atherosclerosis and risk of cardiovascular disease.” 1
“Higher consumption of eggs is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.” 2
Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter by entering your email address in the signup form below. It’s the best way for you to stay informed on all the latest health & fitness research and cutting-edge content being posted regularly on this site.
2 Egg Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke
3 Treat the Inflammation, Not the Cholesterol
4 What Really Causes Heart Disease
5 Eggs and Cholesterol – How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat?
6 Featured Photo Credit – Eggs, Cholesterol, and the Proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines