Harvard Health Letter

Egg-cellent news for most, but not those with diabetes

The harmful effects of eggs were overblown, but the studies show that people with diabetes should still limit how many they eat.

They couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but after falling out of favor, the ordinary egg has made a remarkable comeback into nutritional good grace. There's one significant catch, though: study results continue to suggest that eggs are bad for the cardiovascular health of people with diabetes.

Eggs contain a lot of cholesterol: there are about 200 milligrams (mg) in a large egg, all of it in the yolk. The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg. Have two eggs for breakfast, and you've overspent your cholesterol budget for the day. And the cholesterol in eggs — indeed, in anything we eat — does tend to increase the concentrations of "bad" LDL cholesterol in the blood. Researchers estimate that each additional 100 mg of cholesterol in the daily diet results in a 2 milligrams per deciliter increase in LDL concentration. Still, that's quite a bit less than previous estimates. Moreover, a couple of studies have found that eggs cause an increase in large LDL particles, which tend to be less damaging to arteries than smaller ones. Another tally in the good news column: the cholesterol-induced increases in LDL are partly offset by increases in "good" HDL cholesterol.

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