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Once Forbidden Foods: Shrimp, Shellfsh, Eggs and Cholesterol

Dietitians Review Eggs and Cholesterol, Shrimp and Cholesterol Guidelines

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Updated February 28, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What is the relationship between eggs and cholesterol? And how about shrimp, shellfish, and cholesterol?

For years, medical professionals advised patients to avoid shrimp, shellfish, and eggs because they believed foods high in dietary cholesterol contributed to high blood-cholesterol levels. Recent research has turned this recommendation on its head, finding that dietary cholesterol is more likely influenced by saturated fat and refined food intake than from the amount of cholesterol in the food. Read on for nutrition experts' comments on where shrimp, seafood, and eggs fit into a cholesterol-friendly diet.

Shrimp and Shellfish "I am not worried at all about shrimp and shellfish, which are far better choices than steak, as long as they aren't battered and fried," Comments Elizabeth Somer MA, RD, Author of "Eat Your Way to Happiness" (Harlequin, 2009). "A far bigger issue is avoiding saturated fat and refined grains. And the number one most important factor in lowering heart disease risk is maintaining a healthy weight with good diet and vigorous exercise."

Eggs "An egg a day is fine for most people, although persons with diabetes should limit eggs to no more than three a week," says Somer.

"I have never been against eggs, even in the 1980's when 'no cholesterol' was a marketing point," says Abby Kurth, Registered Dietitian in San Antonio, Texas. "When people's cholesterol didn't improve on a low-cholesterol diet, but instead worsened, the realization came that it was refined carbohydrates (white flour, white sugar) and poor blood sugar balance that was leading to unhealthy cholesterol levels. Eggs, beans, nuts, seeds -- anything that is high in nutrients -- should be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet."

Bottom Line "Eggs, shellfish, and shrimp all have nutritional benefits," says Alice Trivas, RD, CD of the Center for Nutrition, Salt Lake City, Utah. Focus on a nutrient-rich diet and exercise, and avoid saturated fats and processed or refined foods to lower cholesterol level.

Sources:

Personal Interview Elizabeth Somer 2/21/11

Personal Interview Abby Kruth 2/21/11

Personal Interview Alice Trivas 2/21/11



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