So many people love eggs – just look at the menu of a breakfast restaurant and you’ll see just how popular they are. Over the years, though, there’s been so much confusion about eggs and human health risks – and the discussion doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. A new study just threw a wrench into the lives of egg-lovers around the world, having found that among U.S. adults, higher consumption of dietary cholesterol or eggs was significantly associated with higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in a dose-response manner.
The constantly shifting perspective on eggs has definitely left us with some questions, and thankfully dietitian Nishta Saxena stopped by Your Morning to crack the case.
Eggs are good for you
In short, yes, eggs are a great source of nutrition for those who eat them. They contain specific nutrients such as choline, a nutrient which is very hard to get elsewhere that is crucial for our brains and nerve development, especially in young children and as we age. Rich in highly bioavailable protein and minerals, eggs can be a key part of a healthy diet.
Here’s a quick nutrition breakdown of 1 typical large (50 gram) egg:
o Calories: 78
o Carbohydrates: 0.6 grams
o Fat: 5 grams
o Protein: 6 grams
The cholesterol in eggs is cause for concern
Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. There are two different types of cholesterol – blood cholesterol, and dietary cholesterol. These two are actually quite different – the amount of cholesterol in your body is referred to as blood cholesterol levels, and the amount of cholesterol found in animal food products is referred to as dietary cholesterol. Current evidence shows that dietary cholesterol does NOT become blood cholesterol, meaning that in moderation, eating eggs will not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Everyone should be eating eggs
Aside from vegans, pretty much everyone should be eating eggs to benefit from their rich protein and mineral content. However, if you do have high blood cholesterol, diabetes or heart disease, limiting your intake to two or less whole eggs per week can help prevent cardiovascular disease. For middle aged and older adults who eat more than four eggs per week compared to other egg substitutes, the eggs could possibly influence blood pressure, lipid and lipoprotein concentrations. For children, eggs are a great way to get an adequate amount of nutrients and protein!
I should only eat egg whites
Eat the yolk! It contains most of the nutrients in eggs, even though it also contains a large portion of the cholesterol. In the past it was thought a good way to reduce cholesterol consumption was to just eat the yolk, but we now know that dietary cholesterol does not directly affect blood cholesterol – so enjoy it!
The bottom line
The consensus from scientists is cholesterol in food has little effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. If you want to prevent cardiovascular disease, that involves a lot more than watching your egg consumption – you also need to eat a diet rich in fibre, fruits, vegetables, whole-grains & plant proteins. Healthy people can eat one egg per day – kids can have two. People with advanced heart disease or whom are in secondary prevention or have poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, stick to 4 per week