Cholesterol in milk and eggs

Asked December 4, 2017, 1:36 PM EST

I have type 2 diabetes controlled with lots dose oral medication and diet. Also, my LDL cholesterol is slightly elevated (all other cholesterol/lipid levels in range). My question is about the cholesterol found in whole milk and eggs. I read conflicting info about whether it is "good" cholesterol, or should be consumed in moderation. I also notice there are fewer total carbs in whole milk than in 2%, 1%, and skim. Can you help me understand so I can make more educated choices? Thank you!

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question and desire to learn more about how to manage your blood lipids. Please understand that I can only give general advice, if you'd like individualized meal planning guidance, please meet with a registered dietitian or other qualified health professional that can review your complete diet and blood profile.

In general, to improve your blood lipids the emphasis is less on cholesterol and more on reducing trans fats and saturated fats. Of course, this should be kept in the context of a balanced diet with emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy products and lean meats.

In general, the goal for saturated fat is 13-15 grams per day and trans fats should be close to zero. Keeping this in mind, if you drank 3 glasses of whole milk (about 5 grams saturated fat per 8 oz) you would be at the maximum recommended amount for a WHOLE day. Whole eggs (egg yolks) are high in cholesterol and contain saturated fat.

Yes, there is a very slight difference in carbohydrate (1-2 grams) from whole milk to skim milk which I would consider negligible. It is lower because the carbohydrate is displaced by the fat. In general, the recommendation is to use 1% or skim milk. Whole eggs can be eaten in moderation, whites are fine to eat often. There is some emerging research that certain sources of saturated fat may be less harmful but the evidence is not strong enough for us to make a clear recommendation yet.

American Heart Association has a nice overview of a balanced diet and you can learn more specifics from the DASH diet but this needs to be merged with dietary recommendations for diabetes. And the American Diabetes Association has a nice overview of healthy and unhealthy fats. See link below. I hope this was helpful, let me know if you need further clarification.