Egg Yolks, Cholesterol and Heart Disease: What you Need to Know

This article was originally published by our friends at Authority Nutrition.

Depending on who you ask, whole eggs are either healthy or unhealthy.

On one hand, they’re considered an excellent and inexpensive source of protein and various nutrients.

On the other hand, many people believe that the yolks can increase heart disease risk.

So are eggs good or bad for your health? This article explores both sides of the argument.

Why Are Eggs Sometimes Considered Unhealthy?

Whole eggs have two main components:

  • Egg white: The white part, which is mostly protein.
  • Egg yolk: The yellow/orange part, which contains all sorts of nutrients.

The main reason eggs were considered to be unhealthy in the past, is that the yolks are high in cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in food, and it’s also made by your body. A few decades ago, large studies linked high blood cholesterol to heart disease.

In 1961, the American Heart Association recommended limiting dietary cholesterol. Many other international health organizations did the same.

Over the next several decades, worldwide egg consumption decreased significantly. Many people replaced eggs with cholesterol-free egg substitutes that were promoted as a healthier option.

Bottom Line: For several decades, eggs were believed to increase heart disease risk because of their high cholesterol content.

It’s True That Whole Eggs Are High in Cholesterol


Whole eggs (with the yolks) are undeniably high in cholesterol. In fact, they’re the major source of cholesterol in most people’s diets.

Two large whole eggs (100 grams) contain about 422 mg of cholesterol (1).

By contrast, 100 grams of 30% fat ground beef has only about 88 mg of cholesterol (2).

Up until very recently, the recommended maximum daily intake of cholesterol was 300 mg per day. It was even lower for people with heart disease.

However, based on the latest research, health organizations in many countries no longer recommend restricting cholesterol intake.

For the first time in decades, the US Dietary Guidelines released in January 2016 did not specify an upper daily limit for dietary cholesterol.

Despite this change, many people remain concerned about consuming eggs.

This is because they’ve been conditioned to associate high dietary cholesterol intake with high blood cholesterol and heart disease.

That being said, just because a food is high in cholesterol, it doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol levels in the blood.

Bottom Line: Two large whole eggs contain 422 mg of cholesterol, which exceeds the maximum daily limit that was in place for many decades. However, this restriction on dietary cholesterol has now been removed.

How Eating Eggs Affects Blood Cholesterol


Although it may seem logical that dietary cholesterol would raise blood cholesterol levels, it usually doesn’t work that way.

Your liver actually produces cholesterol in large amounts, because cholesterol is a necessary nutrient for your cells.

When you eat larger amounts of high-cholesterol foods such as eggs, your liver simply starts producing less cholesterol (3, 4).

Conversely, when you get little cholesterol from food, your liver produces more.

Because of this, blood cholesterol levels don’t change significantly in most people when they eat more cholesterol from foods (5).

Also, let’s keep in mind that cholesterol isn’t a “bad” substance. It is actually involved in various processes in the body, such as:

Last but not least, cholesterol is found in every single cell membrane in your body. Without it, humans wouldn’t exist.

Bottom Line: When you eat eggs or other cholesterol-rich foods, your liver produces less cholesterol. As a result, your blood cholesterol levels will likely stay about the same or increase only slightly.

Do Eggs Increase Heart Disease Risk?


Several controlled studies have examined how eggs affect heart disease risk factors. The findings are mostly positive or neutral.

Studies show that eating 1–2 whole eggs per day doesn’t seem to change cholesterol levels or heart disease risk factors (6, 7, 8).

What’s more, consuming eggs as part of a low-carb diet improves markers of heart disease in people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. This includes the size and shape of LDL particles (9, 10, 11).

One study followed pre-diabetics who were on a carb-restricted diet. Those who consumed whole eggs experienced better insulin sensitivity and greater improvements in heart health markers than those who ate egg whites (10).

In another study, pre-diabetic people on low-carb diets ate 3 eggs per day for 12 weeks. They had fewer inflammatory markers than those who consumed an egg substitute on an otherwise identical diet (11).

Although LDL (“bad”) cholesterol tends to stay the same or increase only slightly when you eat eggs, HDL (“good”) cholesterol typically increases (10, 12, 13).

In addition, eating omega-3 enriched eggs may help lower triglyceride levels (14, 15).

Research also suggests that eating eggs on a regular basis may be safe for people who already have heart disease.

One study followed 32 people with heart disease. They experienced no negative effects on heart health after consuming 2 whole eggs every day for 12 weeks (16).

To top things off, a review of 17 observational studies with a total of 263,938 people found no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke (17).

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that egg consumption generally has beneficial or neutral effects on heart disease risk.

Do Eggs Increase Diabetes Risk?


Controlled studies show that eggs may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce heart disease risk factors in people with prediabetes.

However, there is conflicting research on egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

A review of two studies involving more than 50,000 adults found that those consuming at least one egg daily were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who ate less than one egg per week (18).

A second study in women found an association between high dietary cholesterol intake and increased diabetes risk, but not specifically for eggs (19).

The large observational study mentioned above that found no link between heart attacks and strokes did actually find a 54% increased risk of heart disease when they only looked at people with diabetes (17).

Based on these studies, eggs could be problematic for people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that these are observational studies based on self-reported food intake.

They only show an association between egg consumption and an increased likelihood of developing diabetes, these types of studies can not prove that the eggs caused anything.

In addition, these studies don’t tell us what else the people who developed diabetes were eating, how much exercise they did or what other risk factors they had.

In fact, controlled studies have found that eating eggs along with a healthy diet may benefit people with diabetes.

In one study, people with diabetes who consumed a high-protein, high-cholesterol diet containing 2 eggs per day experienced reductions in fasting blood sugar, insulin and blood pressure, along with an increase in HDL cholesterol (20).

Other studies link egg consumption with improvements in insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation in people with prediabetes and diabetes (10, 21).

Bottom Line: The studies on eggs and diabetes have mixed results. Several observational studies show an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, while controlled trials show an improvement in various health markers.

Your Genes May Affect How You Respond to Egg Consumption


Although eggs pose no risk to health in most people, it’s been suggested that those with certain genetic traits may be different.

However, there isn’t a lot of research on this.

The ApoE4 Gene

People who carry a gene known as ApoE4 have an increased risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease (22, 23).

An observational study of more than 1,000 men found no association between high egg or cholesterol intake and heart disease risk in ApoE4 carriers (24).

A controlled study followed people with normal cholesterol levels. A high egg intake, or 750 mg of cholesterol per day, increased total and LDL cholesterol levels in ApoE4 carriers more than twice as much as in people without the gene (25).

However, these people were eating about 3.5 eggs every day for three weeks. It’s possible that eating 1 or 2 eggs may have caused less dramatic changes.

It’s also possible that the increased cholesterol levels in response to high egg intake are temporary.

One study found that when ApoE4 carriers with normal cholesterol experienced higher blood cholesterol levels in response to a high-cholesterol diet, their bodies began producing less cholesterol to compensate (26).

Familial Hypercholesterolemia

A genetic condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia is characterized by very high blood cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease (27).

According to experts, reducing cholesterol levels is very important for people with this condition. It often requires a combination of diet and medication.

People with familial hypercholesterolemia may need to avoid eggs.

Dietary Cholesterol Hyper-Responders

A number of people are considered “hyper-responders” to dietary cholesterol. This means that their blood cholesterol levels increase when they eat more cholesterol.

Often both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels increase in this group of people when they consume eggs or other high-cholesterol foods (28, 29).

However, some studies report that LDL and total cholesterol went up significantly in hyper-responders who increased their egg intake, but HDL was stable (30, 31).

On the other hand, a group of hyper-responders consuming 3 eggs per day for 30 days mainly had an increase in large LDL particles, which are not considered as harmful as small LDL particles (32).

What’s more, hyper-responders may absorb more of the antioxidants located in the yellow pigment of egg yolk. These can benefit eye and heart health (33).

Bottom Line: People with certain genetic traits may see a greater rise in their cholesterol levels after eating eggs.

Eggs Are Loaded with Nutrients


Eggs also have a ton of nutrients and health benefits that need to be mentioned when considering the health effects of eggs.

They are a great source of high-quality protein, as well as several important vitamins and minerals.

One large whole egg contains (1):

  • Calories: 72.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Vitamin A: 5% of the RDI.
  • Riboflavin: 14% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B12: 11% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 6% of the RDI.
  • Iron: 5% of the RDI.
  • Selenium: 23% of the RDI.

Then there are many other nutrients in there in smaller amounts. In fact, eggs contain a little bit of almost everything the human body needs.

Bottom Line: Eggs are high in a number of important vitamins and minerals, along with high-quality protein.

Eggs Have Many Health Benefits

Studies show that eating eggs can have various health benefits. These include:

  • Help keep you full: Several studies show that eggs promote fullness and help control hunger so you eat less at your next meal (34, 35, 36).
  • Promote weight loss: The high-quality protein in eggs increases metabolic rate and can help you lose weight (37, 38, 39).
  • Protect brain health: Eggs are an excellent source of choline, which is important for your brain (40, 41).
  • Reduce eye disease risk: The lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs help protect against the eye diseases cataracts and macular degeneration (13, 42, 43).
  • Decrease inflammation: Eggs may reduce inflammation, which is linked to various diseases (11, 20).

Bottom Line: Eggs help you stay full, may promote weight loss and help protect your brain and eyes. They may also reduce inflammation.

Eggs Are Super Healthy (for Most People)

In general, eggs are one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat.

In most cases, they do not increase cholesterol levels much. Even when they do, they often increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and modify the shape and size of LDL in a way that reduces disease risk.

However, as with most things in nutrition, this may not apply to everyone and some people may need to limit their egg intake.


Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!

Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)


Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...

#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!

How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)


In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)

Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!

1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!

2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)

3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report

5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric

6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't

7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors

Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.