FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Eggs: Yes or No?

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Since the1960’s we have been advised to limit our egg consumption for the simple reason that one egg has over 200 mg. of cholesterol. However, the latest official advice on cholesterol states that the cholesterol coming from the diet does not play a major role in blood cholesterol. In other words, even if you don’t eat any cholesterol, your liver will make all you need. When some people eat cholesterol, their liver production slows and blood levels do not rise; for others that do not regulate cholesterol as well, dietary cholesterol may increase blood cholesterol. However, the increase is typically due to increases in both HDL (“healthy”) and “unhealthy” LDL cholesterol.

Bottom Line: Currently, the vast majority of epidemiological studies do not find a relationship between dietary cholesterol or egg consumption and cardiovascular disease. Many factors affect blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol, such as physical activity, body weight, intake of saturated and trans fat, heredity, age, and sex.

Eggs are part of the Mediterranean diet associated with good cardiovascular health. One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and are low in cholesterol-raising saturated fat. They are a good source of zinc, B vitamins, vitamin A and iron.

The yolk is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. There is research to suggest eggs may help to weight maintenance. A recent study reports that people who eat an egg-based breakfast ate less calories during the day than people eating a bagel-based breakfast.

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