The mean cholesterol content in the chicken egg it is 424 mg per 100 g, about 200 mg in an average sized egg. It is a really high content that supposes more than 60% of the recommended maximum daily intake of cholesterol. However the effect on blood cholesterol is minimalboth LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol, the two main indicators of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol in the blood).
The hypercholesterolemia is a very important risk factor for cardiovascular diseasesespecially atherosclerosis. This disease is characterized by the formation of fatty deposits inside the arteries, called atherosclerotic plaques, which can obstruct them. High cholesterol in the blood, especially low-density cholesterol or LDL cholesterol, promotes the formation of atherosclerotic plaques and therefore the control of hypercholesterolemia is so important for its prevention.
Due to the high cholesterol content in the eggspecifically in the bud, it was recommended to reduce its consumption as a preventive measure for cardiovascular health. In 1973, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended a maximum consumption of 3 eggs per week. The bad reputation of the egg lasted for decades, practically until the end of the 20th century it did not begin to be accepted that the cholesterol in the egg had little effect on blood cholesterolespecially when compared to foods high in saturated fat1.
The egg contains high amounts of phospholipids, highlighting phosphatidylcholine (lecithin), which by esterification with cholesterol would prevent its absorption in the digestive system and would not pass into the blood. Also, most of the fat it contains is unsaturated fat, including Omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for cardiovascular health. The opposite happens with foods high in saturated fat that facilitate the absorption of cholesterol, which occurs with most fatty foods of animal origin, and can also increase triglyceride levels, another cardiovascular risk factor.
Although the issue of eggs and cholesterol is not yet fully resolved, most epidemiological studies have shown that a high consumption of eggs, even one a day, does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, higher consumption could be linked to heart attacks in the long term3.
The egg is no longer a food with such restrictive recommendations and moderate consumption for healthy people does not pose any risk. However, the effect of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol can vary greatly from person to person and depends on many factors, including genetic factors. Thus people with difficulty controlling their LDL cholesterol levels and people with diabetes should consume eggs with caution.
Currently, the AHA does not recommend a specific limit on the consumption of eggs, but rather a maximum limit on the daily intake of cholesterol, whatever its origin. This limit is 300 mg if you are healthy or 200 mg if you have diabetes or blood cholesterol is above 100. Keep in mind that the body can produce all the cholesterol it needs and it is not necessary to consume it in the diet; In other words, we do not have a minimum need for cholesterol that we must take in with food.