Q. How much cholesterol do eggs contain? And how many can I eat?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Monday, 14 October 2013.
Tagged: cholesterol, fat, healthy eating, healthy heart, super foods

Q. How much cholesterol do eggs contain? And how many can I eat?

A.  Eggs have long suffered under a cloud since the era of the 1970's. Yet they are a nutritious food, the only problem being that they have a high concentration of cholesterol. So everyone is keen to know how many eggs they can safely eat each week, especially those with high blood cholesterol or heart troubles.

Because of their cholesterol content, eggs were once restricted for people trying to lower their cholesterol. Older analyses set the cholesterol content of an egg at a high of 250 milligrams, when the recommended maximum is 300 milligrams a day. So you can that one egg put you close to the day's limit. More recent figures, however, reveal egg's cholesterol to be much lower - around 190 milligrams per egg - making them far less of a worry than before. Eggs now carry the red tick from the Heart Foundation to reflect this.

If your cholesterol is normal:

If your cholesterol is within normal limits and your intake of saturated fat is low, then even an egg or two a day is acceptable. Just don't drown them in butter or cream. Despite their cholesterol, eggs are nutritious, being high in protein and vitamins. Virtually all the cholesterol and fat lies in the yolk; the white can be used freely which is why body builders love using egg whites say in egg white omelettes.

If your cholesterol is high:

If your blood cholesterol is high (usually this means over 5.0mmol/litre), it is wise to keep ALL cholesterol-rich food to a minimum. This means not only limiting the number of eggs, but also organ meats (liver, kidney, brains), prawns and squid. The Heart Foundation recently revised the number of eggs allowed from two to six a week, with the proviso that you keep your intake of saturated fats low. There are also yolk-free egg substitutes which can be used to make scrambled eggs, omelettes and quiche if you love eating these things.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.