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Debunking the eggs and cholesterol myth!

Resident Nutritionist, Magdalena Marvell, reveals how daily egg consumption does not increase the risk of heart disease.

Many people believe that eating eggs, which contain cholesterol, can raise their cholesterol levels and harm their health. However, recent research suggests that this may not be the case for most individuals. While eggs do contain cholesterol, they are also an excellent source of nutrients, including high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. Moreover, the cholesterol found in eggs does not necessarily translate to an increase in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood.
 
Studies have shown that moderate egg consumption, about seven eggs per week, does not increase the risk of heart disease or negatively impact cholesterol levels in healthy individuals. In fact, eggs can actually increase the levels of good cholesterol in our bodies, which is beneficial for heart health.
 
Cholesterol is a lipid molecule that plays a vital role in various bodily functions. However, it is essential to distinguish between two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol. 
 
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol, plays a crucial role in maintaining cardiovascular health. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries, reducing the risk of plaque formation and promoting heart health.
 
In contrast to LDL cholesterol, increasing HDL cholesterol levels is considered beneficial. Several lifestyle factors can positively influence HDL cholesterol levels, such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and consuming a diet rich in certain foods.
 
Studies have indicated that the dietary cholesterol in eggs has minimal influence on cholesterol levels in most individuals. In fact, eggs are known to increase levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), thereby improving the overall cholesterol profile.
 
One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that moderate egg consumption (up to seven eggs per week) did not lead to increased cardiovascular risk factors in healthy individuals. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily egg consumption did not adversely affect lipid profiles or increase the risk of heart disease.
 
However, it is essential to consider the overall dietary context when incorporating eggs into a balanced eating plan. Eggs can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation and alongside a variety of nutrient-rich foods. It is also advisable to prepare eggs using healthier cooking methods such as boiling or poaching, rather than frying them in unhealthy fats.
 
To make the best choices for your health, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian, who can provide personalised advice based on your individual circumstances and goals.
 
In conclusion, eggs can be enjoyed as part of a nutritious diet, and the cholesterol they contain does not necessarily contribute to negative health outcomes.
 
Research references:
1. Fuller NR, et al. (2018). Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study—a 3-mo randomized controlled trial.
2. Rong Y, et al. (2013). Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
3. Shin JY, et al. (2018). Association between dietary cholesterol intake and cardiovascular mortality in the elderly: a nationwide cohort study.
4. Virtanen JK, et al. (2016). Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.
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