First, let me address why I have put this blog together
‘I don’t like eating eggs, as I KNOW they increase my chances of disease and raise my cholesterol’
*Disclaimer* – these are not my words, but those of many people I try and help and it infuriates me
Now, the debate on egg consumption has been going on for as long as I can remember. Some individuals base the case for limited egg consumption based on the link between cholesterol and risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Consequently, with CHD now considered a national crisis (Rong et al., 2013) its unfortunate egg consumption has become a somewhat scapegoat. Below I have used a range of sources to provide my interpretation of egg consumption and CHD, with an explanation as to what the ‘evidence’ is suggesting currently.
In relation to cholesterol, we basically have low-density lipoprotein or LDL (bad) and high-density lipoprotein or HDL (good) and what we intake effects these values respectively. We class cholesterol based upon the ratio between LDL and HDL. Now in the studies involving eggs, no difference in overweight men consuming three eggs per day for twelve weeks was observed in LDL, rather an increase in HDL (Muntungi et al., 2008). We can take from this that the egg consumption had a positive on cholesterol, as HDL (good) was increased with no difference in LDL (bad) cholesterol. Moreover, an intake of three eggs per day is significantly higher than the ‘recommended’ daily amount of 300 mg/d with three eggs totalling just over 550 mg/d. In support of these findings, consumption of one egg per day (more macro friendly I must say) also resulted in an increase in HDL, with no effect on LDL in men and women aged 40 and 60 years of age (Ata et al., 2010). Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis assessing egg consumption against incidence of heart disease or stroke also reported no relationship using curve linear association within a total of 263,938 participants in the studies.
As a quick summary these findings suggest 1) the daily recommended guidelines is translating to the wrong message to the market (i.e. don’t eat eggs) and 2) consumption of eggs even as high as three per day have been shown to have beneficial effects on cholesterol, not a negative effect. This may also change the notion of ‘I can have eggs but can’t eat the yolk’ as in these studies consumption of whole eggs, including the yolk was investigated.
Some References below if you wish to read more into this topic!
Rong et al., 2013. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies – BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8539 (Published 07 January 2013)
Fernandez & Calle. 2010. Revisiting Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations: Does the Evidence Support a Limit of 300 mg/d? Current atherosclerosis reports. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785
Ata S, Barona J, Kopec R, et al. 2010. Consumption of one regular egg or a lutein-enriched egg per day increases HDL cholesterol, reduces apolipoprotein B and the number of small LDL particles while increasing plasma carotenoids and macular pigment density in adult subjects. FASEB J, 24:A92.4.
Mutungi G, Waters D, Ratliff J, et al. 2010. Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate restricted diet. J Nutr Biochem, 21:261–267.