If you exceed dietary cholesterol guidelines, you're at risk for developing high blood cholesterol – and heart disease. Therefore, limiting your egg consumption – regardless of how you cook your eggs – is a good idea. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database, one large hard-boiled egg contains just as much dietary cholesterol as a large raw egg.
Cholesterol in Eggs
One large hard-boiled egg contains 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, according to the USDA. In fact, even one large scrambled egg contains 169 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, the USDA notes. To help prevent high blood cholesterol and reduce your heart-disease risks, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests limiting dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day.
Eggs in Moderation
Eating hard-boiled eggs in moderation is a good way to include them in your diet but still control your blood cholesterol levels. Because of the high dietary cholesterol content of whole eggs, MedlinePlus recommends limiting them to four or fewer per week. But because the cholesterol is in the egg yolk only – not the egg white – you don't have to restrict egg whites. Eating them in place of whole eggs is an excellent way to control your dietary – and blood – cholesterol.
Although hard-boiled eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein, you do have lower-cholesterol options for fulfilling your daily protein needs. In addition to eating egg whites instead of whole eggs, try tofu, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk or soy milk, a meatless soy-based breakfast patty, grilled chicken, nuts, seeds or nut butters. These foods are all rich in protein but contain much less dietary cholesterol than whole eggs. In fact, plant-based protein-rich foods -- such as soy, nuts and seeds -- are cholesterol-free.
Other Causes of High Cholesterol
Eating whole eggs in excess and getting too much dietary cholesterol aren't the only dietary factors that can lead to high blood cholesterol. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, eating too much saturated fat or trans fat and being overweight are also risk factors for high blood cholesterol and heart disease. Saturated fat is abundant in high-fat meats and full-fat dairy foods – such as butter, whole milk, cheese and ice cream. Foods high in trans fats include fried foods, commercial baked goods, margarines and shortenings.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 01129, Egg, Whole, Cooked, Hard-Boiled
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 01123, Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 01132, Egg, Whole, Cooked, Scrambled
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- MedlinePlus: Managing Your Weight with Healthy Eating
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC