The Incredible, Edible Yolk

“Cholesterol causes heart disease.”

You’ve heard it before, and the majority of people still believe it. This message has been drilled into our heads for the past half a century, despite the fact there is absolutely no research that links cholesterol to heart disease.

This persistent myth has scared people away from eating cholesterol-rich eggs on a regular basis, yet eating eggs every morning for breakfast is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.

Personally, I eat anywhere from 2 to 6 egg yolks per day. I even throw away the egg whites since I have a slight sensitivity to them. When you think of a “health freak,” I’m sure you don’t think of someone eating egg yolks and discarding the white. In fact, you probably picture the opposite. Egg-white-guzzling bodybuilders and cholesterol-fearing doctors have unfortunately been throwing away egg yolks for years.

Yet, cholesterol is very important. Cholesterol is a structural molecule that is an essential aspect of every single cell membrane in our bodies. It’s critical for the production of Vitamin D, neurotransmitters and steroid hormones, such a testosterone — which is ironically something egg-white-guzzling bodybuilders definitely want more of.

Given the incredible importance of cholesterol, the body has evolved elaborate ways to ensure that we always have enough of it. When bodybuilders and doctors throw away their egg yolks and get less cholesterol from their diet, their livers actually produce more of it. And if you eat more cholesterol, your liver produces less (1, 2). It’s a balancing act (homeostasis, for all the nerds out there).

In other words, if you eat eggs regularly, the total amount of cholesterol in the body hardly changes (if at all). It’s just coming from the diet instead of from the liver (3, 4).

In fact, the University of Connecticut has extensively studied the effects of eggs on cholesterol levels (5). They found that when people consume three to four eggs per day, with the yolk, virtually everyone experiences either no change or beneficial changes in their cholesterol levels.

Researchers have also looked at the relationship between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease. In one review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants, no association was found between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke (6). Other studies have led to the same conclusion (7, 8).

I also found an interesting case study of an 88-year-old man who consumed 25 eggs every day! You’d expect him to be sick and morbidly obese, but he had normal cholesterol levels and was in very good health (9).

Bottom line: Eat eggs regularly and don’t worry about it. Replace your cereal, milk and juice with 4 eggs cooked in butter and you’ll be golden.

Now that I’ve described why you shouldn’t be afraid of eating eggs every day, in Part 2 of my Egg Yolk Series, I will explain why you should absolutely love and embrace them for their nutritional benefits.

Originally published at on June 19, 2014.

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