Worry not, eggs are not bad for your heart and they can be safely consumed without the concern that they might cause your cholesterol levels to skyrocket. It’s just one of the many dietary myths that likely needed to be debunked.
- Researchers studied 1,000 men, a third of which were carriers of the ApoE4-a gene
- Among them, 230 developed coronary disease over the next 21 years
- On average, they consumed 2,800 milligrams of cholesterol per week (25% of which was from eggs)
- One egg has around 186 milligrams of cholesterol
Researchers conducted a study on 1,000 healthy men between the ages of 42 and 60 years old, with follow-ups that spanned over two decades. Around a third of the participants carried the ApoE4-a gene, a variant that is believed to increase their risk of developing coronary disease or Alzheimer’s. Even more, carriers of this particular gene were believed to be more strongly impacted by a diet high in cholesterol. It’s a compound often found in animal food sources.
However, the consumption of meals rich in cholesterol and blood cholesterol are two very different things. That is one of the points the study aimed to make. According to Dr. Luc Djoussé, a professor and expert in heart disease from Harvard Medical School, “dietary cholesterol does not translate into high levels of blood cholesterol”.
Across the 20 years worth of follow-ups, 230 of the participants developed a heart condition. On average, all them consumed around 2,800 milligrams of cholesterol per week. A full quarter of that was reportedly from eggs. That is taking into account that one egg contains around 186 milligrams of cholesterol. In the past, researchers have made an association between the consumption of the product and cardiovascular problems.
And yet, the study told otherwise.
According to the researchers, there was no link between coronary disease and the consumption of eggs. This was available for both ApoE4-a gene carriers and non-carriers, even after adjusting for several control factors, such as age, BMI, diabetes, and hypertension. The researchers could not find an association between one of the most popular breakfast meals and heart disease.
It’s a good thing too, as eggs arrive with numerous health benefits. They contain Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, B5, B6, B12, E, K, Calcium, Zinc, Folate, Choline, Phosphorus, and Selenium. All that cholesterol that is believed to hold is actually an excellent source of protein, an essential compound for the good health of bones and muscles. Not to mention they’re exquisitely delicious.
According to Julia Zumpano from the Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Program of Cleveland Clinic, currently there is no recommendation on daily egg intake. However, nutritionists do warn about its high saturated fat content. Frying them, which is one of the most popular methods of cooking eggs, elevates their fat content by around 50%. Experts strongly advise on avoiding this particular technique because it’s one of the ways that makes the meal unhealthier.
However, moderate consumption of eggs does not elevate the risk of heart disease, even among those who are genetically predisposed to coronary problems. So, eat away, while at the same time remembering that moderation is always key.
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