WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR “CHOLESTEROL” NUMBERS? CONSIDER EATING MORE EGG YOLKS!


Eggs in basket

Chicken Eggs

 

(5/5)


Pros:  My recent “science experiment” – and my doctor’s general “take” – suggest that chicken eggs (including the yolks) are unlikely to worsen “cholesterol” levels in most people. Moreover, eggs constitute a relatively affordable, low-fat source of protein and other nutrients.

Cons:  None for me.

Prefatory note: I’ve never taken any sort of “cholesterol” drug (e.g., “statin”). Also note that the “eggs” that I’ve eaten have always been of the most commonly available (not the costlier “organic”) variety in American supermarkets.


Speaking as a 60-year-old, six-foot-one, 163-pound male, I’ve got one or two health concerns (primarily some idiopathic [evidently largely genetically influenced] “foot” neuropathy that’s intermittently uncomfortable but doesn’t significantly hinder my mobility), which I’m striving to ameliorate through several means. But, on the proverbial good side, I’ve also got various things for which to be thankful – including satisfactory “cholesterol” [and normal “blood-sugar” and “blood-pressure”] numbers that make it possible for me to continue avoiding any prescription medications.

As far back as the mid-1960s, I can recall people being advised by doctors or sundry “experts” to reduce or even eliminate their consumption of eggs (not only the faultless whites but particularly the cholesterol-containing yolks) in order to improve their cholesterol numbers and cardiovascular health. In more recent years, however, advice from analogous sources has been confusingly inconsistent. But the general impression I’ve derived is that only a modest minority of the population could actually find their LDL (the so-called “bad-cholesterol”) number worsened by the consumption of “dietary” cholesterol – e.g., egg yolks.

A couple of months ago, I decided to arrange (with my doctor’s cooperation) a little “science experiment” of sorts: I would increase my longstanding consumption of egg yolks from just one per day to exactly four per day (two at lunch, and two at dinner). Then – about two months later – I would see how my borderline-healthy “cholesterol” levels responded.


Mind, I never prepare my eggs with any “cooking” oil or fat; instead, I always basically poach them. Nor do I subsequently add any “butter” (instead, I add a bit of black pepper plus perhaps a modicum of the “light” version of Kraft’s Miracle Whip.) Also, I was steadfastly careful not to change any other aspects of my daily routine – and I’m speaking not only of the “dietary” but also the “exercise” and “lifestyle” components. For I wanted to discover precisely what effect quadrupling my egg-yolk consumption would have on the following (loosely speaking) “cholesterol” numbers: LDL (“bad” cholesterol); HDL (“good” cholesterol); and triglycerides.

The following two typical “lipid-panel” tests were done via my longstanding primary-care physician’s office, which promptly sent my blood samples to a particular nearby Quest Diagnostics lab:

May 19, 2014 (after having eaten approximately one egg yolk daily for many, many months):


CHOLESTEROL TOTAL: 214

HDL-CHOLESTEROL: 85

TRIGLYCERIDES: 78


LDL-CHOLESTEROL: 113

 

July 10, 2014 (after having eaten four egg yolks daily since May 19th):

CHOLESTEROL TOTAL: 197

HDL-CHOLESTEROL: 86

TRIGLYCERIDES: 36

LDL-CHOLESTEROL: 104

Being merely an average (?!) layperson, I don’t hereby mean to postulate any scrupulously “scientific” conclusions. But I do find the above numbers intriguing; and I’m frankly more confident than ever that I myself – and presumably the majority of the population – should henceforth relish eating a reasonable daily number of whole eggs without fretting about any ostensibly bad health consequences.

Note that, for many years, I’ve pretty strictly limited my daily consumption of saturated fat. Also – somewhat more for basic “budgetary” reasons than pretentious “philosophical” ones – I’ve long eaten relatively little “meat” (much less than the average American, anyway). Instead, eggs (formerly mostly just the whites) have constituted my main source of “non-vegetarian” food. Additionally – at both lunch and dinner – I always eat a sensibly sized serving of beans (not only for supplementary protein but also for fiber to promote dietary-tract regularity); mixed “frozen” vegetables; shelled English walnuts; and about two or three tablespoons of peanut butter (always Smuckers “Creamy Natural,” which contains a smidgen of salt as its only added ingredient). [However, for some years I’ve generally eschewed bread – not because I don’t savor it, but because it always raised my bodyweight somewhat above the reportedly “ideal” level. So, I’ve alternatively learned to relish “natural” peanut putter [not to mention blueberries and chilled bananas] in much the way other folks relish ice cream or pudding. And I alternatively derive my daily “grains” with “hot,” “natural” cereal including old-fashioned oatmeal and wheat germ.]

Also, since about five months ago [when I reluctantly gave up coffee (that reportedly prevents Alzheimer’s in mice but isn’t ideal for “peripheral neuropathy” sufferers)], I’ve been eating not only the usual banana or two but also some (“frozen”) blueberries [because they reportedly prevent Alzheimer’s in rats] together with my longstanding consumption of “old-fashioned” (not “instant”) oatmeal (and/or some wheat germ and sometimes a sprinkling of ground flax seed). Note: Although my lab-determined blood-sugar numbers have long placed me in “fully normal” range, I’ve recently gone so far as to totally stop my longstanding modest consumption of “one to several” teaspoons per day of ordinary “table sugar” (on the assumption that topping my oatmeal/wheat germ not with “refined” sugar but rather a sensible amount of natural berries should be more healthful generally).

Also, I’ve continued my longstanding consumption of two to three gel capsules of pharmaceutical-grade (highly purified) fish oil daily. [This might have something to do with my above-noted “triglycerides” number remaining rather low (always within a range between about 36 and 78), but I’m not really sure.]

Incidentally, I’ve never taken any “blood-pressure” medication (my diastolic and systolic numbers have long been within “normal range,” and they’ve remained there since I’ve increased my daily consumption of whole eggs).

If you or a loved one happen to have any concerns about your daily consumption of “cholesterol” – perchance in the form of eggs – you might want to discuss this with your doctor. My doctor’s general take on “eggs“ has been, from the outset: “I think they’re good for you!”

15 thoughts on “WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR “CHOLESTEROL” NUMBERS? CONSIDER EATING MORE EGG YOLKS!”

  1. I just love it when people take a serious interest in their health seeking and researching methods to improve it. When I have to see my doctor I take this ‘list’ of questions and suggestions. He loves it. I’m sure your doctor does also.

    Congrats on your numbers. You’re considerably more strict with your diet than I. For me, the idea of giving up animal protein would be kin to dietary depression on a clinical level. No more pork chops and applesauce or Swiss steak with noodles? Heavens Mike, this is making me sad 🙁 ( teasing).

    Hey, if this works for you, knock yourself out! You certainly sound as if your health is important to you – and what could be more wise than that?

    Very helpful and informative review, Mike. Thank you.

    Norma

  2. “For me, the idea of giving up animal protein would be kin to dietary depression on a clinical level. No more pork chops and applesauce or Swiss steak with noodles?”

    Believe me, Norma, throughout much of my life my daily diet more so resembled “yours” (e.g., I likewise “love” [the taste of] pork chops and Swiss steak!). But during the past decade I began increasingly experimenting, now and again, with simpler – and reportedly “more healthful” menu choices, partly in the interest of, yes, improving health, but partly in the mundane interest of conserving money after I’d “fully” retired (in a “Thoreauvian” manner) from the workaday world at age 48 with “only” a paid-off house and car plus an accrued nest egg of about $390,000 (which, you see, had to last me for “the duration”). Well, partly through such ongoing frugality, and partly through some intermittent stocks-and-bonds-investment luck, I’ve managed – sans any “employment” income – not only to dutifully pay all my “regular” bills (plus several unforeseen and alarmingly hefty ones) but also to grow the aforementioned nest egg to roughly $478,000 (a chunk of which must – alas! – soon be spent for major car repair, backyard privacy-fence replacement, etc., etc., etc.).

    Funny thing is, I nowadays seem to have fallen into a daily/weekly pattern where I get essentially as much pleasure from my relatively “spartan” fare as from alternative, fancier dishes (I know this because I’ve experimented by very infrequently breaking the pattern by suddenly indulging in this or that “treat” (be it simply “meat with mashed potatoes and gravy,” or be it “fast-food sandwiches,” or be it “cookies/ice cream/pie” or whatever), and I’ve noticed that each successive instance of such “menu deviation” has “thrilled” me far less than it would’ve done in past years).

    And perhaps that’s just as well, since this “lazy” bachelor (somewhat like Thoreau) appreciates simplifying his daily existence – including the chore of “meal planning/preparation.” 😉

    In the spirit of what you said above, “To each his/her own.” I’ve got absolutely nothing against anyone embracing the proverbial “cakes-and-ale” lifestyle, so long as it doesn’t end up hampering health. [And, undeniably, many lifelong “indulgers” have lived to very ripe ages doing it “their” way.] Thus do I say, “diff’rent strokes,” and enjoy! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!

    Mike

  3. Well, that’s not my ‘typical’ diet – I eat much more chicken than porkchops or steak. A skinned, boneless breast, or even a thigh, has much less fat than either a chop or steak. I like putting several in the slow cooker, then I can use them in so many ways without a lot of fuss – in salad, a casserole, or just a plain old sandwich.

    It sounds like you have a handle on your finances, but money is just a tool, so don’t deprive yourself of some simple pleasures. I’m sure you’ve earned them.

    1. Norma, for many years now, I’ve likewise favored chicken (partly because of its relative affordability, and partly because of its relatively low fat content). I still do presently eat “some” chicken (mainly the breasts, though — especially with conventionally “fried” chicken — I’ve always particularly savored those tender, moist thighs). [Hmmm. My foregoing words sound almost pornographic, but I intended them quite matter-of-factly!] Come to think, there’s a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer that I really should thaw and cook soon (I’ve overlooked it for weeks already). My longstanding “lazy-bachelor” way of preparing such breasts is to place ’em in a topless baking dish (or pan) and barely cover the meat with water, into which I pour some black pepper, onion powder, and oregano.

      I totally agree that “money is just a tool” and that a person shouldn’t deprive himself of (at least) “some” pleasures or luxuries. In that vein, I’ve spent (a miser would say “squandered”) — without regret — over $30K (during the past decade or so) to create not only my beloved top-level “billiard/games room” (with adjacent “snack-bar” and balcony) but also the aforementioned old-fashioned second-floor “den,” plus this finished-basement “classical music-and-book library & theater.” So, rest assured that I don’t believe in “hoarding” every penny till I drop, heh. [“Man caves” take precedence, heh.]

      Moreover, when I earlier spoke of “growing my original $390K nest egg to (presently) $478K, I was speaking in the same “matter-of-fact” spirit that Thoreau casually used in the “Economy” chapter of Walden (wherein he forthrightly cited his exact monetary outlays and income whilst residing at his beloved pond-side “retreat”). [Analogously, to me money is indeed merely a mundane “tool” (not a source of “self-esteem” or, for that matter, “shame”).]

  4. A pornographic chicken – what a hoot! ( she cackled)

    Glad to hear you’ve ‘invested’ some of your money in “luxuries” as you refer to them. Personally, I’ve lived abased, in a small one-bedroom apartment, and I’ve lived abounded, in a 7,000 sq.ft. ranch house with an indoor swimming pool and maid’s quarters ( and I wasn’t the maid – ha!) and was happy in both. Now, I’m somewhere in between. I don’t work toward, nor seek wealth, I just live one day to the next, trying to find joy in the moment. It rather sounds as if you do also.

    Your “man-cave” sounds like a gem!

  5. This four-bedroom, two-car-garage, split-level house (whose square footage isn’t half that of your former, sumptuous ranch) presently feels “just right” for my purposes. [But, as you suggest, one must live one day at a time and should make the most/best of it.]

    Thanks again for commenting!

  6. Well, it was totally impractical, in the -middle-of-nowhere, and jets from the local airbase would buzz by the kitchen window frequently – but I loved it. But happiness comes from within, not from without – and you can take that wherever you go, amen? 🙂

    N

  7. enjoyed reading your interesting review,

    my one and only cholesterol test came on the heels of my usual egg a day for breakfast, and I still prefer over easy, NOT cooked until is dead, and not scrambled to assure it is free of hidden death.

    and I ain’t dead yet. I do prefer free range eggs, grew up on them as a child, mom was positive children need chores, and we had chores, every 3d day it was my turn to gather eggs in the hen house. I agreed with mom, and my own children also fed and gathered eggs in the hen house.

    when I can find them I really enjoy farmer’s markets etc and the fresh eggs I can get there

    oh, the cholesterol test indicates I will live forever a la vampires I guess
    m

    1. Well, “one egg a day” would surely hurt nobody; and my recent “science experiment” suggests that four eggs daily would likewise heard virtually nobody.

      You’re lucky to have “farmers markets” conveniently close. I don’t, but if I did I’d certainly consider them if the price were reasonable.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. Hello there, Mr. Henry Thoreau!
    It’s good ol’ “dianapinions” Diana stopping by to say Hello! I just bumped into this review and am very happy to see that you are still 1) writing the most helpful reviews anywhere on the planet and 2) still eating an extremely healthy diet. Congratulations on all of that, and hope you are doing great!
    Diana, in New York

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