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What Happens To Your Heart When You Eat Eggs

Do they cause heart disease? The research is conflicting.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Despite what you may have heard about eggs in the past, just know that they're actually not all that bad for you. In fact, egg yolk in particular—which is the part of the egg that contains the cholesterol—contains the most nutrients.

But let's talk about how eggs can affect your heart health. While eggs are naturally high in cholesterol (one large egg contains about 187 milligrams of cholesterol), they don't appear to play a role in raising cholesterol levels the way that foods high in saturated and trans fats do, says the Mayo Clinic.

In fact, you'll even notice the most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines don't even specify how much cholesterol you should limit yourself to each day. This is because health experts agree that the focus should instead be on eliminating foods that have more evidence of being a threat to your heart health. These include fried foods, sugar-laden beverages such as soda, and red meat.

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While some studies have demonstrated a link between eating eggs and heart disease, there are other factors that could be at play here. For example, think about popular foods to pair with your morning eggs. Bacon, sausage, and ham most likely come to mind, right? Recent research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that regular consumption of processed meats can increase your chances of developing heart disease—so maybe the eggs aren't to blame here.

As the Mayo Clinic reports, most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease. Studies have even shown that eating between one and three eggs on a daily basis improves HDL levels, which is the good type of cholesterol. HDL helps to remove some of the bad kind of cholesterol (known as LDL) from your arteries, so you want your HDL levels to be high so that they protect your heart.

Of course, everyone is different. Keep in mind that people with diabetes are already at higher risk of heart disease and some research suggests that eating as many as seven eggs a week could elevate their risk even more.

In short, there is research to back both cases. We suggest limiting your egg consumption—whether that's once a week or three times a week—so that you keep your heart in tip-top shape.

For more, be sure to check out Drinking This for Just 12 Weeks Can Improve Your Heart Health, Says New Study.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more