Are Eggs Healthy Eating?
When I posted my recipe for Scotch Eggs, one of the questions I received was how many eggs should we consume per day. The question is great because eggs are no longer the villains that we once thought they were.
The great thing about science is that it's ever changing! We're pretty regularly learning new things and increasing the accuracy of the facts with which we base our lifestyle choices on.
I think the big red flag with eggs was the fact that each egg yolk contains 200 mg of cholesterol. We've been told for many years that cholesterol is bad as it leads to Heart Disease.
However, we've since learned that the amount of cholesterol we consume only modestly impacts the amount of cholesterol circulating in our blood, according to Harvard, the school of public health. In fact, they report the biggest influence on blood cholesterol levels comes from the mix of fats and carbohydrates in your diet and not actually from the amount of cholesterol you consume.
As a result of these new findings, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 has been updated to remove the prior recommendation to limit egg consumption. So the answer to the question of are eggs healthy eating is yes, as long as they're consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
In other words, eating your breakfast burrito with 3 scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes and a side of toast every day may lead to problems whereas consuming 1 scrambled egg, with salsa and a 100% whole-wheat English muffin would be a more heart healthy choice.
Do the Studies Agree?
I've previously mentioned that here at Forget Skinny, we use the scientific studies to make our decisions on which healthy habits to create and follow for ourselves. There is so much misinformation out there and the media has such a bad reputation that the science is really the most reliable source for what happens with our bodies. So, we've made the conscious decision to always go to the source of the information, the studies.
As I mentioned above, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has deemed dietary cholesterol as "not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption", according to WebMD.
Harvard Professor Teresa Fung, ScD, RD reported, "There is no convincing research data that indicates one egg a day is problematic" as there is no appreciable relationship between cholesterol in your diet and cholesterol in your blood.
So as not to re-write the studies, I am simply going to list the studies I used in drawing my conclusions. I will list the objective of the study and the conclusion of each study. Of course, I'll link to each study so that you can read the entire study as you so choose.
Are Eggs Healthy to Eat?
1999 Study: A Prospective Study of Egg Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men and Women
Objective: To examine the association between egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke in men and women.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that consumption of up to 1 egg per day is unlikely to have substantial overall impact on the risk of CHD or stroke among healthy men and women. The apparent increased risk of CHD associated with higher egg consumption among diabetic participants warrants further research.
End Egg Restriction Recommendations
2006 Study: Dietary Cholesterol Provided by Eggs and Plasma Lipoproteins in Healthy Populations
Objective: Extensive research has not clearly established a link between egg consumption and risk for coronary heart disease. The effects of egg intake on plasma lipids and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) atherogenicity in healthy populations need to be addressed.
Conclusion: Dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to acknowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet.
Heart Failure Risk
2008 Study: Egg Consumption and Risk of Heart Failure in the Physicians Health Study
Background: Reduction in dietary cholesterol is widely recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Although eggs are important sources of dietary cholesterol and other nutrients, little is known about the association between egg consumption and heart failure (HF) risk.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that infrequent egg consumption is not associated with the risk of HF. However, egg consumption of > or = 1 per day is related to an increased risk of HF among US male physicians.
Cardiovascular and Diabetes Risk
2013 Study: Egg Consumption in Relation to Risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Objective: We aimed to quantitatively summarize the literature on egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiac mortality, and type 2 diabetes by conducting a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Conclusion: The meta-analysis suggests that egg consumption is not associated with the risk of CVD and cardiac mortality in the general population. However, egg consumption may be associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes among the general population and CVD comorbidity among diabetic patients.
2016 Study: Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality
Objective - To examine the associations of animal and plant protein intake with the risk for mortality.
Conclusion - High animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.
While high blood cholesterol is bad for your health, dietary cholesterol has a very small impact on your blood cholesterol levels. It's a mixture of bad fats and carbs that contribute to heart disease.
If you are a healthy person and you consume a healthy diet, there are no problems with eating roughly an egg a day. Try to do so with other healthy items.
If you are already at risk for heart disease or diabetes, try to mix in other healthy meals that don't contain eggs. As long as you eat a variety of healthy options, there shouldn't be a problem. Personally, I don't like eating the same things over and over again. I need variety in my life. I am at high risk for both diabetes and heart disease as both run in my family. I've never eaten that many eggs. So I will continue consuming other healthy options which will include eggs a few times a week.
As always, please remember that we do not offer medical advice on this site. We like to bring up the studies we've found and give you options to consider, but we are not medical professionals. We always recommend you check with your medical team before changing your diet and exercise routines.
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