Lifting the limits
Previous limits on egg consumption have been lifted as it is now known that the cholesterol they contain does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol.
A high level of blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. It was originally thought that eating cholesterol-rich foods was an important cause of high blood cholesterol levels and therefore increased heart disease risk. However, only around a third of the cholesterol in the body comes from the diet (our bodies make the rest). It is now accepted that the amount of saturated fat that we eat has a greater effect on our blood cholesterol levels than cholesterol in the diet.
This means that most people can eat eggs without adversely affecting their blood cholesterol levels, provided that they are eaten as part of a healthy diet that is relatively low in saturated fat.
All major UK heart and health advisory bodies have removed the previous limits on egg consumption due to their cholesterol content.
What health organisations say
There is always a lot of discussion around eggs and their health benefits. The quotes below are what the experts have to say on eggs and their role as a food source.
"There is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat.
Eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet, but it's best to cook them without adding salt or fat. For example:
- hard-boiled or poached, without added salt
- scrambled, without butter – which is high in saturated fat
Frying eggs can increase their fat content by around 50%.
To get the nutrients you need, make sure you eat as varied a diet as possible.
Although eggs contain cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat we eat has more effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the cholesterol we get from eating eggs."
British Heart Foundation
"There’s no recommended limit on how many eggs you should eat. Eggs can be included in a healthy, balanced diet, but remember that it’s a good idea to eat as varied a diet as possible and to use healthier cooking methods when you do have eggs. Boil or poach them rather than frying and avoid adding butter to scrambled eggs."
Quotes taken from organisations' websites, May 2016.