Skip to Main Content
An Egg a Day is OK
Your Source for Cholesterol Advice
Fats, Cholesterol and Your Health
Research indicates that dietary cholesterol is not a health concern for most people. Making healthier food choices, quitting smoking and increasing physical activity can help reduce your cholesterol levels and improve your heart health (e.g., protect against high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain).
To lower your risk of heart disease, choose whole grain products, lots of vegetables and fruit, lower-fat dairy products and lean meats. Limit your intake of salt, sugar, and ‘other foods’ like processed meats, snack foods (chips and chocolate bars), desserts (pies, cakes and cookies), and fried foods (French fries). These ‘other foods’ can contain unhealthy fats, which can raise LDL cholesterol levelsIs considered “bad” because it carries cholesterol from the liver to the body’s tissues. The cholesterol carried by LDL can be deposited on artery walls, forming fatty deposits called plaques. As plaque builds up, it can block the flow of blood to your heart, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.. Don’t forget to watch your portion sizes as well!
What about fat - why do we need it?
You have to include some fat in your diet to support cell growth and provide energy for your body. Fat also helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Not all fat is treated equal and the concern is that many people eat far more fat than they really need.
There is a connection between your cholesterol levels and the amount of saturated fatIs a type of fat that is solid at room temperature. Saturated fat is found in high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), ready-to-eat meats, the skin and fat of chicken and turkey, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. Saturated fat has the same number of calories as other types of fat, and may contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess. Eating a diet high in saturated fat also raises blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease. and trans fatsIs a type of fat that is produced when liquid fat (oil) is turned into solid fat through a chemical process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenated fat is a common ingredient in commercially-prepared baked goods, such as cookies and crackers, and in fried foods, such as doughnuts and French fries. Eating a diet high in trans fatty acids raises blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease. in your diet. Saturated and trans fats, can have a negative effect on your health because these fats raise the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood and increase your risk of heart disease.
Know Your Fats
The cholesterol level in your body can be affected by the different types of fat you consume. There are four major types of fat in the foods we eat.
- found in ‘other foods’ like cakes, pies, pastries and cookies
- found in fatty cuts of meat, poultry skin and dairy products such as butter, cheese and ice cream
- also found in some vegetable oils including palm, palm kernel and coconut oils
- is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine – a process called hydrogenation
- fast foods, baked goods and processed foods (e.g. muffins, cookies, doughnuts, French fries etc.) typically contain trans fats and are referred to as “Industrial produced trans fat”
- can also found in partially hydrogenated margarines, many crackers and cookies. They are usually listed as “partially hydrogenated” or “vegetable oil shortening” in the ingredient list
- can also be found naturally in some foods like meat and dairy products in small amounts
- Increases LDL "bad" cholesterol and raise total blood cholesterol levels
- “Industrial produced trans fats” are harmful because they raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.
- trans fat found naturally in foods is different than the industrial produced trans fats and do not increase your risk of heart disease
- to identify trans fat in foods, read the Nutrition Facts table on food labels and check the ingredients list
- are found in products made from plants such as nuts, seeds and various vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower
There are two important types of polyunsaturated fats that the body cannot produce:
- Omega-3 fats, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon, omega-3 eggs, canola oil, walnuts and margarine
- Omega-6 fats, which are, found in some nuts and seeds, safflower, sunflower and corn oils
- are found in olive and canola oils, avocados and some nuts;
- usually contains higher amounts of vitamin E, an important antioxidant
- reduces risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol when eaten in moderation
- lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol and increases HDL "good" cholesterol when eating in moderation
Browse our ‘Healthy tips for managing cholesterol’ section to learn more about choosing the right types of fat.
Canadian Government takes aim at trans fat
Research shows that trans fat may be even more harmful to your health than saturated fat. In the 1990s Canada was thought to have one of the highest intakes of trans fat in the world. Since November 2004, Health Canada has been working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to develop recommendations and strategies for reducing trans fat in Canadian foods to the lowest level possible. You can learn more about the task force recommendations in the 2006 report TRANSforming the food supply.10
One large egg contains 5 grams of total fat, only 1.5 gram of saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat, so they easily fit into your daily fat requirements.
Canada's Food Guide recommends that you include 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 tbsp) of unsaturated fat in your diet every day. Omega-3 eggs are a nutritious source of polyunsaturated fat.