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Are Eggs Bad for the Heart Health?

* the opinions expressed are those of the author and not Nutrition Ink.

 

Eggs are one of the richest sources of cholesterol in our diet. As the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is well established in the literature, it is common that people are questioning if they should avoid eating eggs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

 

Our body can produce cholesterol in the liver via biosynthesis and only about 25% of serum cholesterol is derived from diet. Recent studies show a weak relationship between

 

dietary cholesterol (egg) intake and CVD risk in the general population. Serum cholesterol does not necessarily rise much due to egg intake, given that the response depends on both genetic and metabolic factors. For example, dietary cholesterol is found to be poorly absorbed in individuals with insulin resistance and obesity compared to lean individuals.

Even though one large egg yolk contains approximately 200 mg of cholesterol, the consumption of one egg still provides a good amount of protein, vitamins and minerals, which are essential to maintain good health. Research on chronic egg consumption indicates that up to one egg per day does not increase CVD risk in healthy individuals.

However, those with diabetes might need to limit their egg consumption to no more than three egg yolks per week because higher CVD risk was found among this population in studies including the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

 

Saturated fats and trans fat intake also increase serum cholesterol that can do harm to our heart. Therefore, it is also important to consider the cooking method, e.g. type of oil and amount used for cooking eggs, and other

food intake regrading heart health. Remember, a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are high in fibers may reduce the risk of heart disease.

 

References:

 

Rong, Y.; Chen, L.; Zhu, T.; Song, Y.; Yu, M.; Shan, Z.; Sands, A.; Hu, F.B.; Liu,L. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: Dose-response meta- analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2013, 346,e8539.

 

Shin, J.Y.; Xun, P.; Nakamura, Y.; He, K. Egg consumption in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013, 98, 146–159.

 

Knopp, R.H.; Retzlaff, B.; Fish, B.; Walden, C.; Wallick, S.; Anderson, M.; Aikawa, K.; Kahn, S.E. Effects of insulin resistance and obesity on lipoproteins and sensitivity to egg feeding. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 2003, 23,1437–1443.

 

Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA.1999;281:1387-94

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