Eggs, Soybeans, and Corn - Good or Bad for Hypercholesterolemia
High blood cholesterol is an asymptomatic condition that is often associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease. In our body, there are two distinct types of proteins that bind and transport cholesterol, and, for this reason, cholesterol is divided into two different types: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol form as it removes cholesterol deposits from the arteries, while LDL is the “bad” one, as it contributes to atherosclerotic deposits that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases1.
Lifestyle changes and nutritional approaches are the first and foremost therapeutic step required to reduce high cholesterol levels. However, the nutritional levels of some foods like eggs, soybean and corn may have a peculiar profile that could make unclear whether introducing them in a diet could be good or bad for a patient suffering from hypercholesterolemia.
Although eggs are extremely rich sources of cholesterol, they do not represent a dangerous food for patients with high blood cholesterol. Cholesterol introduced through dietary sources has, in fact, minimal effects on its plasmatic levels. Regular egg consumption may even have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, provided that the patient is not diabetic2. Soybeans have often been associated with an alleged reduction of the LDL levels, however ampler researches did not confirm this claim. However, soy-based foods are a better alternative to red meat, as they contain lesser quantities of the much dangerous saturated fats3. Corn instead is just cereal, so it is a fat-free food. However, many junk foods prepared with corn may be unhealthy, as they contain high quantities of low-quality oils as additives, like popcorn, commercial cornbread stuffing mix, and corn muffins.
1. Information, National Center for Biotechnology; Pike, U. S. National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville; MD, Bethesda; USA, 20894 (2014-06-11). "High Blood Cholesterol." PubMed Health.
2. Rong y, et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: Dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal. 2013;346:e8539
3. Messina M. Insights gained from 20 years of soy research. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140:2289S.
Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.