When it comes to foods with confusing health messages, eggs can be on the podium: despite having long been part of many people’s breakfasts and the mainstay of bakery, health experts have warned against them for years – especially not. yolks – for fear that this could raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.
In recent years, however, doctors and nutritionists have softened their attitude towards this incredible food, and many have praised the abundance of vitamins, minerals and important proteins in eggs. And now a new study seems to support the notion that eggs really aren’t dangerous to heart health after all.
So, is it okay – healthy even – to eat eggs every day?
It’s true that eggs have a higher cholesterol level than many other foods – about 185 mg in a large copy. Not too long ago, eggs were still considered “as bad for you as smoking”.
Now, however, we know that what actually raises cholesterol is saturated fat in the diet and not so much cholesterol in food, experts explain. While US dietary guidelines, for example, advised to consume no more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day, that recommendation was withdrawn in 2016.
When we consume cholesterol, it breaks down in the intestine and is not absorbed as a total cholesterol molecule. Saturated fats, in turn, are broken down into short chains of fatty acids that can bind in the body – and this is what has been shown to significantly increase cholesterol levels.
Yes, research suggests that eating foods that are high in dietary cholesterol, such as eggs, can raise a person’s cholesterol somewhat. But another thing to consider is the relationship between LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Eggs increase HDL to a greater extent than LDL, which leads to a more favorable risk profile when it comes to cardiovascular risk.
Recent studies show no link with heart disease
In addition to what scientists now know about the effects of dietary cholesterol on the body, studies also suggest that people who eat eggs are no worse off than those who don’t. Research in recent years has failed to find a connection between eating an egg a day and heart disease, even in people whose genetics put them at greater risk than normal.
A new study published in the journal heart suggests that eating eggs may even have a protective effect: people who reported eating up to one egg a day had an 11% lower risk of developing heart disease – and an 18% lower risk of dying from it – in the next nine years than those who didn’t eat eggs. They also had a 26% lower risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke.
The study, which included nearly half a million Chinese, could only show an association between eggs and heart health, not a cause-and-effect relationship. And no group in the study ate more than one egg a day on average, so the findings aren’t exactly an endorsement of a daily omelet that takes three eggs at your local diner.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while researchers control for other potential factors such as smoking habits, general diet, and weight, this type of study is unable to fully explain all the ways in which egg consumers may be different (and more or less healthy) than non-egg consumers.
Despite the limitations, the study’s findings are not surprising and are further evidence that eggs are not bad.
Nutrients and proteins
There are many good reasons to eat eggs, they are rich in vitamin E, lutein, selenium and folate, which play important roles in brain health, vision and fighting inflammation in the body. They also contain protein (about 6 grams per egg), which can help control hunger and give you a feeling of fullness for hours.
For experts, if a person is trying to lose weight, the most important thing is to have a good breakfast. That’s because if you eat a high-carb breakfast and no protein, you’ll feel hungry again very quickly. Instead, choose high-fiber carbohydrates (like oatmeal) and add an egg or two to make it tougher instead. It’s good to be aware that eggs also contain around 70 calories each – or more, depending on how they’re prepared.
There’s a problem
Hard-boiled eggs are a healthy choice because they don’t have anything added. When seasoning, choose a little oil. Be wary of egg dishes prepared in restaurants. This is because they may involve larger portions and less healthy cooking techniques than doctors would recommend. Even in these situations, they’re preferable to a giant sandwich or a low-fat muffin, which is likely to have more sugar.
So, the best way to consume eggs is without white bread or toast. And forget or save bacon for those rare special occasions, as it’s high in calories and saturated fat and tends to be high in sodium.