The cholesterol myth

I am constantly asked how many eggs are safe to eat per day or week. The myth that cholesterol causes heart disease and because eggs contain cholesterol and fats therefore are bad for us is just plain wrong!

As with every food we eat… an egg is only as good as the bird in which it came from. It is not the cholesterol that is the issue but the ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fatty acids. A healthy free-range egg will contain a ratio between 1:1 and 1:4 where an industrially raised chicken egg can be as high as 1:16-30. This presents a problem as too much omega-6 fatty acid creates a state of inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is now recognised as the leading cause of chronic disease.

Despite the claims that eggs (in particular the yoke, as this is where all the nutrients are found) contain too much fat and cholesterol, a healthy egg also contains adequate lecithin. Lecithin is a compound that effectively emulsifies the fats and cholesterol in eggs making the whole egg a well-balanced, natural food source that is very healthy. It is recommended that quality free-range eggs can be enjoyed in abundance.

The cholesterol myth has been turning people away from eggs for too long. The case against cholesterol, which was made nearly 30 years ago, was based on faulty evidence. This bogus science that incorrectly labeled cholesterol as the ‘bad guy’ has caused the public to focus on the wrong aspects that lead to poor heath and heart disease. A large amount of research now proves that the true promoters of heart diseases are inflammation, oxidative damage, stress and sugar.

Cholesterol is actually crucial for a lot of functions within the human body:

  • Builds and maintains cell membranes
  • Aids in the manufacture of bile to help digest fats
  • Important for the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Essential for healthy skin, as it is the major precursor for the synthesis of vitamin D
  • Critical for growth and development of the brain, nerves and sex organs, as it is the precursor of the various steroid hormones (including cortisol and aldosterone in the adrenal glands, and the sex hormones; progesterone, estrogens, testosterone, and derivatives)
  • It’s needed for the immune system
  • Required by the brain. In fact low cholesterol can result in memory loss
  • Some research indicates that it acts as an antioxidant

It’s these facts about cholesterol that make eggs very beneficial for children and young adults through the years of development. Dr Bernard Jensen author of Foods That Heal describes eggs as “having all the right nutrients for the brain, nerves and glands”.

Below are some facts taken from the new book The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden (PhD, CNS) and Stephen Sinatra (MD, FACN)

Myth: High cholesterol is a good predictor of heart attacks.

Fact: High cholesterol is a terrible predictor of heart attacks.

 

Myth: High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.

Fact: Cholesterol is a fairly insignificant player in heart disease.

 

Myth: The higher your cholesterol, the shorter your lifespan.

Fact: In the Framingham Study, the people who actually lived the longest had the highest cholesterol.

 

Myth: A high-carbohydrate diet protects you from heart disease.

Fact: Diets that substitute carbohydrates for saturated fat may actually increase the risk for heart disease.

 

To ensure you have a healthy heart don’t worry about how many eggs you eat. Rather, focus on the aspects that really matters… reduce the stress in your life, reduce your consumption of sugars, exercise and consume more omega-3 and less omega-6 foods.

 

Phil is founder & master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website bodyexpertsystems.com or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com).