You Asked: ''Should I Be Concerned about Going Over My Daily Cholesterol Limit?''

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Is one day of high-cholesterol eating going to hurt your health? Great question! 

Dietary cholesterol usually gets a bad rap, but did you know that your body actually needs cholesterol? That's because cholesterol is a building block of body cells and hormones. It makes up 50% of your nervous system and is necessary for metabolism, too. In moderate amounts, it is essential to good health. But like many things in life, too much of a good thing can lead to problems.

The cholesterol you eat comes from certain foods and is tallied on your Nutrition Tracker when you track your foods for the day. Cholesterol comes only from foods of animal origin (meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products and poultry). It is NOT found in foods of plant origin (grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, soy foods, nuts, seeds, etc.). Some of the cholesterol you consume will be utilized by the body for the functions listed above. But if you eat too much cholesterol and your body can't use it, it can be stored by the body, running through the bloodstream and depositing on arteries, which can lead to high cholesterol and heat disease. So when you get your cholesterol tested at the doctor and your blood (serum) cholesterol is low, healthy or high; the cholesterol they are testing is the cholesterol in your bloodstream.

To prevent health problems like high cholesterol and heart disease, it's recommended that adults consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. If a person already has high cholesterol, heart disease, or related risk factors, he or she should eat even less: no more than 200 mg per day.

But is one day of high-cholesterol foods going to push you over the edge and cause heart disease? Probably not. Simply eating 300 mg of cholesterol one day doesn't mean that every milligram of cholesterol you consume is going to be deposited in your arteries. Like most dietary requirements, what really matters is what you do consistently--and that you're balancing your intake of all nutrients over the course of several days. One day of high-cholesterol foods won't make or break your health if you're eating low or moderate amounts of cholesterol on the other days of the week. 

It's also important to note that simply eating food high in cholesterol doesn't necessarily cause high blood cholesterol levels. Many factors are related to high cholesterol. In fact, a high FAT intake--especially if it includes heart-unhealthy fats like trans fats or too much saturated fat--is more closely linked with high blood cholesterol levels than a high cholesterol diet is. 

What about high-cholesterol foods like eggs?
If you generally choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, you probably won't have much trouble staying within your daily cholesterol guidelines. But certain high cholesterol foods can put you over your limit. A couple examples are eggs and shrimp.

In a 2007 study published in the journal Medical Science Monitor, no significant difference in cardiovascular diseases (like stroke and heart attack) were observed between people who consumed more than six eggs per week and those who consumed one or fewer eggs per week. So 4-5 eggs per week should be safe and healthy for most people. 

According to Becky Hand, a Licensed and Registered Dietitian for SparkPeople, "One egg daily can easily be a part of a well-balanced, nutritious diet for healthy adults." An important exception is for people with diabetes, who are at an increased risk of coronary artery disease when consuming greater than six eggs per week. If you have a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes, Hand suggests checking with your physician, dietitian or certified diabetes educator regarding egg consumption and dietary restrictions.

If you prefer to eat eggs as part of your regular diet, then just make sure that you are limiting other sources of dietary cholesterol to help balance things out, suggests Hand. If you subtract the cholesterol of your daily egg(s) from your total cholesterol for the day, are you still within your 200-300 mg guideline? If so, then you're probably doing OK. If not, bring your cholesterol numbers back in line by switching to egg whites or egg substitutes on occasion. Also remember to watch your intake of other high-cholesterol foods like high-fat meat and full-fat dairy products--both of which are high in cholesterol, fat and saturated fat (important cholesterol risk factors).

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AQUAGIRL08 2/7/2021
Thank you for the information! Report
Tofu scramble for the win, I guess.

Some plant foods convert to usable cholesterol in the body. So we don’t need to eat it at all. Report
Thanks for the clarity. Report
Thanks Report
Thanks. Report
Interesting article. I'll agree to disagree . Report
Eggs are great Report
I enjoy eggs but I also understand the correlation between them & my high np condition. But I also no if want to enjoy them more I could blend real eggs with "fake" I can still enjoy them more often. Report
Excellent article. Good need-to-know information! Report
I love eggs and usually eat 3 a day. Some days I eat more, today I ate 5. 3 at breakfast and 2 at lunch.

Eggs are a perfect food and if you want to lose weight and be healthy start eating eggs! They are loaded with vitamins and filling protein.

I haven't noticed an issue with cholesterol. My HDL is high and my Triglicerides are low, which is ideal.

I cook with lard and bacon fat. I eat coconut oil and butter. I also use avocado oil and olive oil.

Interestingly my total cholesterol has gone down since I started taking a fish oil supplement daily.

The Women's Health Study (longest running study on women 20+ years) has shown that as a woman ages the higher their cholesterol the lower their chance of death from all causes!!

Pass me the butter! Report
Good information. Report
Being diabetic, just like the article says I have a low cholesterol intake, so having 4-6 eggs a week doesn't seem to affect me. It just seems to balance out, plus it helps me get my protein requirements. Report
Wow. Good article Report
Wow. Good article Report
Great article! Report
Great article. Lots of info Report
great points very interesting Report
Interesting article. Report
it's good to know about cholesterol Report
good points Report
I am aware of cholesterol no longer being a factor in a persons diet. What is a factor is trans fat as it turns into bad cholesterol in everyone. It also advises that people do eat 6 eggs a week for their health,eggs today are much healthier then the ones 30 years a go and free range does not improve nutrition, all chickens go outside sometime everyday. Free range does not mean they are outside all day long! Report
Why is cholesterol in this blog (and on Spark People in general) not specified in HDL and LDL cholesterol? Report
My understanding is that the most current research is saying that cholesterol doesn't matter. Cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease and it doesn't clog your arteries the way we used to least that's my understanding.

"...The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — scrapped longstanding guidelines about avoiding high-cholesterol food. In the draft, cholesterol — found in foods such as egg yolks — is no longer listed as a "nutrient of concern." (USA Today)

I'd really like to see Spark People keep up with the most recent medical, nutrition, and scientific studies out there. Report
Donna, you don't subtract the cholesterol from eggs and ignore it. What the article is saying is if you take into account the cholesterol in an egg, will you have enough wiggle room to comfortably stay within range with everything else you eat that day? We do the same thing for all of our other nutrients. Report
Why is the cholesterol in eggs different, i.e. can be subtracted from daily total? This does not make sense to me. Report