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How much cholesterol is in an egg?

Ozgen Dogan
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
An egg has 213 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol. The aim is to get cholesterol under 300 mg a day. Just keep in mind that with one egg you will almost reach your daily quota of cholesterol, so decrease cholesterol in other ways. For example, go easy on cheese or meat that day. The white of the egg is very rich in protein. The yellow has saturated fat and cholesterol. If you eat one for breakfast, it keeps you full for a long time.

Good news! While an egg used to contain 213 milligrams of dietary cholesterol (all of which is in the yolk), the latest from the USDA is that it contains less! One egg contains 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. The current recommendation is to keep your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams daily, on average, over the course of your week.

Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
Healthy adults are advised to limit their dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams (mg) a day, but if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high low-density lipoprotein (LDL), limit your dietary intake of cholesterol to less than 200 mg a day. One large egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, all of which is contained in the yolk, so you eat an egg, limit other sources of cholesterol (for example, red meat and/or full-fat dairy products) for the rest of that day. Alternately, opt for just using the egg white for omelets, or consider using a cholesterol-free liquid egg product for scrambled eggs and/or cooking.
Kate Geagan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Chances are, if you tuned in to nutrition advice in the '80s and '90s, you remember caveats to steer clear from eggs because they are "high in cholesterol and could trigger high cholesterol and heart disease." And while people with existing heart disease are still advised to limit dietary cholesterol to 200 milligrams a day (one egg has about 185 milligrams), if your cholesterol levels are normal, eggs may be something you can welcome back to your shopping list.

The reason for the confusion? The cholesterol molecules found in eggs are not the primary driver of higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also called bad cholesterol) in your own bloodstream. Rather, the real dietary culprits that can raise our body's own cholesterol production are certain saturated fats and trans fats that we eat (in things like fried and baked foods, red meat or that side of bacon), leading to higher cholesterol levels and heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.