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Jan 13, 2010 11:45 AM

Low Cholesterol Boiled Egg Breakfasts

A delightful trip to the doctor two weeks ago to get a nice back nubby removed also resulted in me finding out that I have high cholesterol. How high? 219, and I'm only 31. YAY!!! I'm a clogged little mama jama! It's mostly genetics, although I do eat a decent amount of junk (no fast food, save taco trucks, but lots of cookies and candies.)

So, I need to eat more sensibly. I've switched over from coffee with cream to green tea at work (blech), am exercising more, cut out store-bought sweets, but would also like some high protein, low carb breakfast suggestions. I'd love to eat egg salad, but I can't imagine all that mayo is a good idea. Alas. And plain hardboiled eggs are yucky. I don't have time in the mornings to cook, but could prepare stuff at night to take for a few days.

Much appreciated!

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  1. I am not getting your question. I am not sure how high protein low carbohydrate diet will solve your cholesterol problem. In general, the traditional low protein, low carbohydrate diet is better for reducing choleserol level. The reason is that high protein low carb diet tends to encourage the patients to eat more meats which is high in cholesterol. For example, lard has cholesterol, corn oil does not; beef has cholesterol, bread does not.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Strangely enough, low-carb does reduce overall cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and possibly more important, causes triglyceride levels to plummet to next to nothing.

      1. re: shanagain

        it's not really strange, just unexpected because most people don't know the scientific/metabolic reason for it. the trans fats and fructose in high-carb processed packaged food & snacks wreak havoc on your cholesterol. when you eat sugars and processed grains, your body secretes insulin, which stimulates your liver to convert any unused sugars to triglycerides. HOWEVER, a low-carb diet that consists primarily of animal foods that are high in saturated fat isn't going to help either. you still need to go easy on the cheese and fatty meats.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          And HIGH on dark leafy greens. (Atkins/low-carb works well for me because I love vegetables - particularly the ones that're low on the glycemic index. )

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            My low carb diet is heavy on saturated fats and proteins; I've reversed my dyslipidimia, diabetic neuropathies and kidney damage on it without medications.

            In fact, research demonstrates that higher dietary saturated fat results in lower saturated fat circulating in serum.

            I also eat boatloads of colorful, leafy and fibrous veggies, nuts, olives, fish, avocadoes and avoid all starches and restrict fruit to small, occasional servings.

            There is absolutely no demonstrated deleterious effect from high protein or high sat fat diets where they're not being eaten with high glycemic load, only a lot of unfounded speculation.

            A further comfounding factor is the use of feedlot dairy and meat products in high sat fat diet studies which have less healthy fat ratios and arachidonic acid levels, and the presence of French fries, sugary sodas and white flour buns in the saturated fat diets often studied.

            Your body raises LDL cholesterol, which is what all your sex hormones and other adrenal steroids are made from, in response to the high insulin levels promoted by grains and other high carb foods; high insulin lowers adrenal steroid synthesis and steroid transport protein. Your body makes LDL to help you avoid adrenal steroid deficiency.

            1. re: mcf

              "There is absolutely no demonstrated deleterious effect from high protein or high sat fat diets where they're not being eaten with high glycemic load, only a lot of unfounded speculation."
              someone from the American Heart Association just read that and started bleeding from the eyes ;)

              "unfounded speculation" is a bit much. past studies *have* shown a link between high saturated fat intake and elevated cholesterol level - the conclusion wasn't just yanked out of thin air. but *of course* there is the very real possibility that an inherent experimental design flaw and or/missed confounding variable (such as sugar or carbohydrate intake) would lead to inaccurate conclusions or misdirected correlations.

              i'm all for advancing science and, when possible, turning the establishment's party line on its ear (there's a reason i purposely opted *not* to go the RD route in my nutrition studies)...but i want to see the hard evidence for myself before i toss out one of the foundations of 8 years of graduate and post-grad health & nutrition education. if there's a body of work out there (not just a random, preliminary study or two) that can convince me that there is NO direct causal relationship between saturated fat intake and elevated cholesterol, i'll gladly change my tune.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                "someone from the American Heart Association just read that and started bleeding from the eyes ;)"

                Actually, unfounded speculation is exactly what it is, that's why the words "may lead to" appear so often. The Swiss paradox comes to mind, too. It's not a paradox, calling it that is a result of a failed paradigm.

                The AHA and the ADA are obliged to the grain, sugar and drug sponsors their livelihoods come from and the conflicts of interest have been very well documented by reliable sources.

                Fact is, there have been incorrect conclusions stated about the role of sat fats for decades, and the more we replace them, the fatter we get, owing of course to starches as substitutes, too.

                The best book on the subject (but scientifically dense and somewhat soporific) is Gary Taube's exhaustive review of the relevant science, "Good Calories, Bad Calories." The only lay language popular diet book that squares accurately with the biomedical literature is Protein Power by the Eades. Michael Eades has a very good blog, too, where he critiques studies:


                I reached my present diet by reading peer reviewed research first, and learned to ignore the author's conclusions and just focus on the data and methodology, which so rarely supported the author's stated findings. Then I read the pop books and tossed away all but the Eades.

                Eating marbled ribeyes, brie and full fat yogurt and cream sauces is fine compensation for giving up pizza and bagels, the only two things I ever miss. I just don't miss the damage they did to my health. Even as a long term, undiagnosed, unmedicated diabetic with advanced damage, I was able to drop from the very highest risk category to below average CVD risk on the Harvard risk estimator and other scales.

                Back to the OP; lowering cholesterol is good for drug sales and bad for your health. What's important are the ratios. What is most highly predictive of cardiovascular disease is low HDL (which typically rises dramatically on low carb, mine from 34-78) and high triglycerides (which tend to drop like a rock on low carb). If TGL is low and HDL high, that indicates your LDL is the large, bouyant non atherogenic type. Even if it's over 300, it doesn't cause disease.

                1. re: mcf

                  we're veering a bit off topic here, but i will say that i've always been loath to subscribe 100% to any book/diet/plan/theory/whatever when it comes to nutrition. yes, GC, BC is a good book. and yes, the Eades do raise *some* very valid and interesting points, but i don't agree with everything they preach, and i also don't believe that most nutritional principles apply to everyone under the sun. what worked for you may, for various metabolic, genetic or even environmental reasons, not necessarily be the solution for someone else. plus, the information is always evolving, and opinion is always changing. in Protein Power they tell people to eat soy as a source of protein, and then in the Protein Power Life Plan they warn about the potential detrimental health effects of soy isoflavones. same thing with aspartame - they OK'd NutraSweet in Protein Power, then changed their tune in PPLP. i'm not pointing fingers, just saying that the field and our information is constantly evolving.

                  i have an immense library of books about any nutritional topic you can imagine, and i can find things to agree with and things to fault in every one of them.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I have never adhered to any one plan; I changed my diet over time in response to research and read the diet books afterward. I know that the Eades are right on the money, scientifically thanks to my independent research. I wonder if you've come across this, only the most recent in a variety of publications with similar findings?:

                    Am J Clin Nutr (January 13, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725
                    © 2010 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
                    Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease1,2,3,4,5
                    Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Huand Ronald M Krauss
                    1 From the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute Oakland CA (PWS-TRMK)the Departments of Nutrition (QSFBH)Epidemiology (FBH) Harvard School of Public Health Boston MA.

                    They find no elevated CVD risk from dietary saturated fat.

      2. good for you! i know you think it sucks to have to give up foods you love but your body will thank you in the long run. and honestly, you'll probably feel better (even though you didn't necessarily feel "bad" before).

        it's important to know that eating *saturated fat* has the potential to raise your blood cholesterol even more than eating foods that are high in cholesterol. sounds weird, but it's true. you should still limit your consumption of high-cholesterol foods, but just be sure to also keep your intake of saturated fat down. and you may not believe this, but if all of those cookies and candies you were eating contained a lot of fructose, that contributed to your high cholesterol as well. consumption of high concentrations of fructose has been shown to elevate triglycerides.

        you also don't want to go to low-carb. the right sources of carbohydrates - foods that are high in *soluble* fiber such as beans and oats - will actually help lower your cholesterol.

        try low-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream spiked with Dijon mustard as a substitute for mayo in your egg salad. you can also jazz up the flavor with things like curry or fresh herbs - you won't miss the mayo! and be sure to use more egg whites than whole eggs. a ratio of 1 whole to 3 whites usually works to keep a little of the yolk flavor & texture in there.

        since you're obviously open to savory breakfast dishes, try salmon or sardines. the essential fatty acids will keep you feeling full AND help lower your total cholesterol and triglycerides.

        other high-protein, cholesterol-friendly ideas:
        - cottage cheese (or ricotta) with mixed berries, flax seeds, and a sprinkling of chopped nuts
        - protein smoothies (with some oats or oat bran blended in)
        - dishes made with low-fat tofu
        - dishes made with lentils or chickpeas

        definitely also add oats to your morning regimen a few times per week.

        1. Rosiepigs,

          First, did your doctor specifically say to you that you should NOT eat eggs? I ask because generally dietary cholesterol does not affect HDL or LDL levels. The real culprit is saturated fats. So unless your doctor specifically said lay off the eggs, I wouldn't worry about it because eggs, while they are relatively high in cholesterol, are not high in saturated fats.

          If eggs (or more specifically egg yolks) are the problem, then how about making stuff with just egg whites or egg beaters? You could boil eggs and use just the eggs for egg salad, or mix it into chicken or tuna salad. Egg beaters you can use for things like scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, etc.

          1. Unfortunately, diet and exercise do not do much to move the LDL (bad cholesterol) needle if due to genetics.

            Store bought cookies and cakes are often high in trans fat, which jacks up LDL and lowers HDL (the good chol), so best to remove them from your diet.

            Black coffee sans cream (or with no-fat milk or half-and-half) is just fine.

            Check out Hellmans Low Fat Mayo:
            It has a fraction of the sat fat of high test. If you don't like it, get used to it. You can make your own egg salad sandwich with it a couple of times a week with much better affect on your lipids.

            Same for dairy products. Seek out and learn to love the no and low fat options.

            For breakfast, have eggbeaters, no fat american cheese (it really is close to the regular stuff, especially in an omelet), and, if you're so inclines, some vegetarian sausage or bacon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrsdebdav

              Low-fat mayonnaise has a more complicated problem than the regular stuff: it's really high in simple carbs, thanks to the thickeners they use to give it body and mouth feel. High carbs can promote high LDL, but what's worse is the triglycerides.

              Eggs are not that bad - we have a scramble every other weekday that's two eggs worth of egg product plus two whole eggs, cooked with olive oil and shared between us. The product we use is Nu-Laid Reddi-Egg, which we get at Trader Joe's, and it's actually good enough to have all by itself. We also get a flourless sprouted wheat bread that is remarkably tasty, not "horse-food" at all. On weekends we'll do one or two regular egg breakfasts, with maybe a bit of bacon. For dinners I cook a lot of fish and make a lot of salads.

              My own cholesterol is higher than it should be, but my LDL/HDL ratio is around 1:2, so my doctor is not overly concerned. He does worry about my triglycerides, which continue to be elevated; more exercise and going easier on the wine would probably help that, if I can just convince myself...

            2. thanks all! Doctor had explained that the high fructose, high saturated fat cookies etc was contributing to my cholesterol, so I'm eliminating those from the diet. No candy, no storebought sweets, etc.

              I was leaning towards a higher protein diet because 1.) the doctor emphasized protein at every meal and 2) it is my understanding that protein is more satiating than other foods, and as I'm always hungry, beefing up on protein, so to speak, would be a good idea. Especially since i'm not eating crap constanly whilst at work.

              I can eat cottage cheese? Just the lowfat kind, though, right?

              i am now eating a GORP based upon cheerios for breakfast, so cheerios, dried cherries and blueberries, almonds, and a few chocolate chips for sin's sake.

              the egg salad with mustard or sour cream sounds good, plus herbs. can i use creme fraiche? i'm guessing no. nothing that French and fat-tastic can be good for me.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Rosiepigs

                crème fraîche is a definite no-no. it's *loaded* with saturated fat. stick with low-fat sour cream or 2% Greek yogurt.

                and yes, cottage cheese is fine, just stick with low-fat or fat free. same goes for ricotta.

                BTW, if you love red meat, try ostrich or bison. both are much leaner and lower in saturated fat than beef.

                1. re: Rosiepigs

                  Rosie, it's also important to note that you can obtain protein from non-meat sources also! Will you eat oatmeal with walnuts? or almonds? The proteins from the nuts will likely stay with you all morning (I've found that I can go from 8 a.m. til 12 or 12:30 P.M. without too much trouble.) It's just another protein source to consider and nuts offer many beneficial fats, too. Plus, the oats also provide protein!

                  1. re: Val

                    Absolutely, getting proteins from nuts is very healthy as well as from fish, but often people go for meats when they think of high protein diet, which leads to increase consumption more saturated fats, cholesterol.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Also, I like that the doctor advised SOME protein with each meal...that will stay with you but it doesn't have to be meat protein...yogurt, especially low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt offers great amounts of non-meat protein, too. Rosie could easily consider adding these yogurts to the breakfast rotation. A co-worker of mine declared today that she would eat a healthy lunch...she went to a restaurant and ordered a Greek salad but she was starved at 4 p.m. and I asked her if she had any protein with her salad? NO...even black beans or any kind of bean would have helped her stay full till dinnertime. Wisely, she ate an orange and some unsalted cashews for a quick snack before commuting home. I think it's great advice: protein with each meal (and hopefully, some kind of vegetable or fruit too!)

                      1. re: Val

                        Val, just a heads-up that the OP is male. learned that in another thread when someone else referred to him as "she." :)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          ghg, you little sweetie..thank you for the correction!

                  2. re: Rosiepigs

                    You can also make yogurt cheese by taking plain yogurt (whatever fat percent you should use) and draining it either in a cheesecloth or coffee filter overnight. I do it in a sieve in the refrigerator. It's a good spread and might substitute for creme fraiche for you. I don't think it's as good but it works.