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Diet & Nutrition | Heart Healthy Living
How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?

How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?

Guidance and cooking tips from a dietitian

Breakfast is one meal you shouldn’t skip. But a lot of us aren’t sure whether we should eat eggs because of their saturated fat and cholesterol content.

A red flag is there only for people with heart disease risk factors, says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Program.

How many eggs per week?

“There is no current recommendation on how many eggs you should consume each week,” says Zumpano. “Research indicates that total saturated fat contributes more to LDL (bad) cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.”

She points out that egg whites are safe and a good source of protein. It is egg yolks that have the cholesterol and saturated fat you’re trying to avoid.

“If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, be cautious about the number of egg yolks you consume, and take into account all the other forms of saturated fat (red meat, beef, pork, veal and lamb, poultry skin, whole-milk dairy or full-fat cheese) in your diet,” says Zumpano.

“To lower your LDL cholesterol, no more than 5 to 6 percent of your calories should come from saturated fat, according to the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines.”

Consider cooking methods

When you prepare eggs, you should also pay attention to the way you cook them, says Zumpano. “If you fry them, the oil that you add is only going to contribute to your saturated fat for the day,” she says. She says these drier or oil-free cooking methods are preferred:

  • Poaching
  • Boiling
  • Pan-frying with a cooking spray

Zumpano adds that you should avoid putting salt on your eggs to keep the amount of sodium in your diet at the recommended level. One teaspoon of salt is all you need per day.

More information

Cholesterol Facts and Fiction
Cholesterol Guide: Exercise Tips

Tags: breakfast, cholesterol, eggs, healthy diet, morning, saturated fat
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  • ERSEI

    What is wrong frying eggs if one uses OLIVE OIL?????????

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Hi ERSEI. I checked with our Preventive Cardiology Nutrition team and they said: There is nothing wrong with it depending on the person’s
      health. One teaspoon of olive oil has 45 calories and 5 grams of fat, so
      depending on how much oil you use the calories and fat can add up which can be
      bad from a weight management perspective. betsyRN

      • Mark

        My dad had one raw egg every day 5 days a week for more than 20 years. No issues and never visited the dr in his lifetime. No hospital visit either. Died at 80 due to dengue fever. What can I say?

        • Richard Kovacs

          Your dad died from dengue fever at 80. How do you know he wouldn’t have died from a heart attack the next day? Never visiting a doctor is a sure fire way to speed your demise. It’s like never having a mechanic look under your hood.

  • Pranav Kulkarni

    I eat a four-yolk omelette every day for breakfast. I run 8 miles a week and am a heavy lifter (for my weight). Plus, I hike every Saturday. Is eating more than 25 egg yolks a week still dangerous for an active person?

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Dear
      Pranav, Our Preventive Cardiology dietitians state: General recommendations for
      prevention of heart disease or for high cholesterol state to limit egg yolks to
      4 per week or saturated fat to less than 7% of your calories, which on a 2200
      calorie diet is 17 grams or less (1 egg provides 1.5 grams of saturated fat).
      On the other hand, they also suggest either an appointment with a dietitian or
      taking advantage of our online nutrition counseling program –
      http://eclevelandclinic.org/productHome.jsp?productId=nutrition. While 25 egg
      yolks seems quite a bit, to truly get an answer to your question, we would need
      to see what your individual risk factors are for heart disease as well as what
      the rest of your diet looks like – that would be a large determinant in deciding
      what your saturated fat content should be. betsyRN

      • Hey You

        We are all different; one size does not fit all.

        • The_Beating_Edge_Team

          that is true – the new dietary recommendations came out this past week – and I believe eggs will be less of an issue – however, they are still limiting saturated fats to less than 10% of calories. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
          The actual diet guidelines will come out later this year – so we will see what they have to say. betsyRN

    • Sakar

      I eat about 6 whole eggs per day !! Was searching for a good answer but none seems satisfactory. One says you can have eggs the other says no u cant !! Confuses me more..

      • The_Beating_Edge_Team

        it is confusing and data is changing – new dietary recommendations will be coming out this year. The new findings (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-BINDER/meeting7/docs/DGAC-Meeting-7-SC-1.pdf ) state that foods high in dietary cholesterol such as eggs may not be as harmful to you as they thought previously. If you want to be sure, until the new recommendations come out, you can eat more egg whites than egg yolks but we will see later this year when the recommendations come out what they have to say about eggs. betsyRN

      • Clay

        Me too. Six pastured eggs from a local farmer per day. I’ve been eating at least four eggs per day my entire life (48 years old now).

        Here’s my latest blood work:
        Total Colesterol: 181, TG 54, LDL 77. HDL 94

        My statistical chance of heart disease is zero.

        This is just me of course but it does absolutely prove the dietary cholesterol hypothesis is wrong. Your body needs about 3-4 grams of cholesterol per day. It’s an essential nutrient. What you don’t get from food, your body synthesizes. So people who avoid all cholesterol are forcing their bodies to produce more of it. One way or another you body will get the cholesterol it needs to function.

    • TheCountessOfRochester

      I despise chicken eggs but adore duck eggs. I eat 3- 5 a week usually poached. No salt just pepper. My dog has half a duck egg every day.

  • http://twitter.com/GeneralHealthy General Healthy

    “One teaspoon of salt is all you need per day.”….????????? We need the extra teaspoon?????

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Our dietitian Julia states: You definitely do not need a teaspoon of salt a day.
      1 tsp salt = 2300 mg sodium. All you NEED is 1500 mg of sodium per day – which is very easily attained through your diet without adding ANY salt. betsyRN

  • http://twitter.com/GeneralHealthy General Healthy

    How healthy is a food that you need to limit to people with heart disease? You don’t ask them to limit their romaine lettuce, black beans, sweet potatoes, or broccoli?

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      There are no limits to the foods that you describe. Other foods may be healthy in moderation. betsyRN

  • N.

    I eat egg(S) every single day, cooked in duck fat. We eat tons of saturated fat from grass-fed tallow. Don’t believe the “experts.” My HDL is 105.

    • Fernando Domeniconi

      I don’t think it is necessary to try to belittle the experts writing the word between ” “. It is actually quite rude. I used to have a diet rich in saturated fat and had a heart attack. Not, with proper diet and living a healthier, active life, my HDL is 70. Months ago I went on vacations and consumed more saturated fat than I planned and it jumped to 85, so yes, I believe the experts (without ” “).

    • Barbara Bump Solomon

      My husband thought the same thing. Then at 46 he had 5 arteries replaced during bypass surgery. Also he had a carotid endarterectomy from mini strokes 6 months before. If you are at high risk for heart disease then you have to pay attention to your diet at a very young age.

    • susan

      Sorry to say that N. just died three day ago.

  • GeorgeBMac

    Yes, the thing about eggs and [dietary] cholesterol is old news…

    But it seems that there is a new guy in town. Specifically:

    The link between egg yolks and TMAO and heart disease was revealed by Dr Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic — and his findings were just published a couple months ago. You may want to speak to him before making more recommendations about egg yolks based (strictly on) their impact on cholesterol.

    I stopped eating eggs after reading his study.

  • bullshts

    Wow..the egg industry is well represented in some of these obscene ‘stuff myself with eggs comments’! Really, REALLY pathetic. Try oatmeal and fruit for breakfast!!

    • Zach Johnson

      so do you work in the oatmeal and fruit industry? because your suggestion for breakfast isnt much better

      • bullshts

        You are a really an imbecile.

  • nan

    Is Vap test or test to determine size of ldl particles worth having if you have high ldl? If insurance company won’t pay, what is approx. cost?

  • Avis Dillon

    The egg is actually one of the perfect foods. The yolk does contain cholestrol…which is offset by the lecithin in the white. Years ago they said NO EGGS and then a few years late they changed their mind and said it was OK to eat them. The medical community changes their mind every few years on darn near everything. Use your common sense.

  • susan

    What a ph’cking stupid article. It asks: ”
    How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?”. And their answer is: “DUH! WE DON”T KNOW!!!!!”

    Next article will be: “How many cookies can you eat to stay heart-healthy?” Answer: “DUH!!! WE STILL DO NOT KNOW!!!!”

  • Ray Verret

    Eggs are awesome.

  • Hey You

    Being 88 years of age with very normal blood pressure, I enjoy eating eggs, butter and cream as often as I want. In fact, if a steak has fat all around, it tastes particularly good However, that said, there are different responses for different people.

    If your tastes haven’t been perverted, follow you inclinations. Chances are that you’ll survive nicely.

  • kathy j

    The low sodium recommendations are also being called into question with newer studies. Recommendations seem a “half step” behind.