Eggs were given the green light in 2016 as a healthy addition to the diet without worry about consuming too much cholesterol. Some confusion has been reported in the news due to a study released in the medical journal JAMA.
The flawed study followed 30,000 participants for about 17 years. The biggest issue with this study was observational and only asked participants about their eating habits one time during the course of the study. As an observational study, no connection can be proven food cholesterol increased risk of heart disease. Without information on the participants diet over the course of the study, and information on lifestyle factors that could contribute to the increased risk this study does not justify dropping eggs from the diet.
Multiple studies have been published on the subject of egg intakes. The majority of experts agree research has clearly shown a low to moderate egg intake is not associated with heart attack or stroke. Please keep in mind to date evidence has only weakly associated cholesterol from food and cholesterol found in blood. Cholesterol is produced in the body by the liver when stimulated. That stimulation has been linked to high sugar/simple carbohydrates, not eggs.
Eggs offer us a powerhouse of nutritional benefit. They are a natural sugar free, carb free food providing healthy protein. A single egg contains 6 grams of protein, 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus lutein and zeaxanthin. Choline found in eggs is linked to improved cognitive function and normal functioning of all cells. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect eye health by slowing progression of age-related macular degeneration. Eggs are also one of the few foods containing vitamin D. Please don’t be tempted to choose only egg whites. While the protein is found in the white along with riboflavin and selenium, the yolk contains the powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals. Another good point is cost. Eggs are a low cost healthy food choice.
The important take away is to eat a diet that is well rounded including plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein. Food portions, physical activity levels, weight management, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking have all been linked to lowering risks for developing cardiovascular disease.
Dianna Richardson of the Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center in Jefferson City has served communities as a wellness practitioner for more than 20 years. She has her doctorate degree in naturopathy, a master’s degree in health and wellness, a bachelor’s degree in public health education and is a certified wellness specialist. Core to her practice has been the use of nutrition to enhance health and improve vitality.