An egg has approximately 200 mg of cholesterol, and frying or scrambling it can up the cholesterol to approximately 245 mg. According to Kellogg’s, a Blueberry Pop Tart contains no cholesterol, but it does have 39.8 g of carbohydrates – almost half of them from pure sugar. So which is a healthier breakfast – an egg or a Pop Tart?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says you should eat less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol each day. That’s because “cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.” Not to mention “the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.” So if the egg breakfast has more cholesterol, you might think it’s the wrong choice. But you’d be wrong. The egg breakfast wins out over the Pop Tart.

You see, it’s not the amount of cholesterol you have in your blood that puts you at risk, but the form in which it’s found. Processed foods that are high in sugar can contribute to inflammation and increase the volume of free radical byproducts from metabolism. This can end up increasing the amount of blood cholesterol found in its “oxidized” form, the form your body can’t use to build cells and create sex hormones. It’s “oxidized” cholesterol that’s deposited on the walls of your blood vessels and increases your risk of a heart attack.

It may be counterintuitive. But eating a food that’s a little higher in dietary cholesterol but doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and create inflammation is sometimes actually healthier, even if you have “high cholesterol.”

[Ed. Note: James B. LaValle, RPh, ND, CCN, is founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, a nationally recognized expert on natural therapies, and the author of 13 books on healthy lifestyles and integrative care, including Cracking the Metabolic Code.

By modifying your diet, medications, lifestyle, and exercise habits, and with nutritional supplementation, your health is largely in your control. Learn more here.]

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