How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up? Scrambled? Do you know that the eggs that you thought were good for you and part of a balanced diet can lead to serious health issues?
What? You were told that eggs were full of protein and the fats were “healthy” fats? While it’s true that an medium sized egg has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, with 1.5 grams of fat being saturated, there is a single glaring consequence that far outweight any benefit…Cholesterol. In that same medium sized egg there are 187mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the daily recommended amount (if you’re plant based then you know that 0mg of cholesterol should be the daily recommended amount J). Knowing that more than 60% of American’s consume eggs at breakfast, and eggs are quickly becoming a staple outside of the States, it is concerning that the consumption of eggs is so widely adopted. On a personal note, before I went plant based my week day breakfast always consisted of two eggs (104% of the recommended cholesterol levels) and my weekend breakfast almost always mixing eggs with other high cholesterol foods such as bacon and / or sausage.
Let’s take a closer look at cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol
Cholesterol plays a major role in carrying out vital functions in our body. Cholesterol is a protein that our human body produces on its own and helps triggers the production of other significant proteins in our body – like hormones. It also forms a component of membranes within each cell of our body and enables our body to generate an ample stream of vitamin D.
To be clear, cholesterol is a vital component of health – we need it. However, the body produces enough cholesterol on it’s own. The body doesn’t require any “help” in regulating cholesterol and the cholesterol that we add from outside sources, like eggs, only have a negative impact on the body’s overall health.
Negative Impact Cholesterol Has on Your Health
There is no doubt that an abundant amount of cholesterol can put your life at risk.
Higher rates of cholesterol your bloodequated to higher risk for clogged arteries. Those with higher rates of cholesterol can experience arteries that harden (athleosclerosis). Hardended arties are terrible for your health due to the fact that the heart has to work harder to pump blood through hardeded arties. As your arties continue to harden and the heart continues to work harder to pump blood, the development of heart disease starts to set in.
Cholesterol and Heart Diseases
The latest statistics shows that more than 600,000 people lose their lives every year in the United States due to heart disease. Along with high blood pressure and smoking, high cholesterol rounds out the top three risk factors for developing heart disease. (https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm).
With all the information on cholesterol levels, you must be thinking that we as a society must be getting better at screening from cholesterol from our diet. However, the exact opposite is true.
In 2018 The Journal of the American Heart Association published research about “Effect of Change in Total Cholesterol Levels on Cardiovascular Disease among Young Adults”. The publication states that young adults were equally susceptible in suffering from heart diseases as their older generations. This illustrates that the problem isn’t getting better, it’s actually getting worse.
With heart disease being a potential end state of those with high cholesterol, cholesterol impacts your health in other ways, too. Cholesterol has been proven as a link to those with high blood pressure and Peripheral Vascular Disease
High Blood Pressure
Do you find yourself getting short of breath while running errands? Do you generally notice a looming sense of fatigue and exhaustion even on the most relaxed days? If this is the case, you are may be suffering from elevated blood pressure issues.
The research performed in 2011 investigating the relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood explains the immense need for controlling your dietary intake of cholesterol-rich foods. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075799/).
If not controlled, your elevated blood pressure levels may be the leading cause for heart strokes and other cardiovascular diseases – symptoms which can easily lead to a life threatening heart attack
Peripheral Vascular Disease
As you must be aware by now, exceeding your cholesterol levels means exceeding your chances of developing painful clots in your heart’s arteries.
However, your heart’s arteries aren’t the only arteries impactedby high cholesterol levels. Elevated levels of cholesterol can even block arteries to your limbs and other body parts, therefore restricting blood flow to your brain. And once your blood flow is restricted, slim are the chances for your limbs to receive the necessary nutrients to perform their function.
The latest research carried in 2018 provides a detailed account of facts and figures about Peripheral Vascular Disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075799/). And as astonishing as it may sound, the peripheral vascular disease is equally common as cardiovascular diseases and other heart problems. Be it any artery within your body, the main reason for fat deposition is due to high amount of cholesterol levels in the body, primarily caused by an unhealthy dietary intake.
The Bottom Line
In an ideal world, everyone should have the freedom to eat whatever they like without having to face detrimental consequences to their health. However, what we put in our body directly impacts our health.
If you are really concerned about your heart’s health then consider cutting out animal based products, like eggs, that are high in cholesterol. Instead, choose a truly heart health foods like fibre-enriched cereals, granola, toast, etc.
See the infograph below for an easy to understand breakdown of cholesterol