Science sends us pretty mixed messages about the health of eating eggs on a regular basis. Some studies claim that eggs are an important part of a healthy diet, while others say they should be avoided because they cause heart disease.
Earlier this year, Northwestern University School of Medicine published a study showing a new link between eggs, cholesterol, and heart health.
In this study, researchers tracked six groups of more than 29,000 people in the United States for 17 years. The study found that consuming 300 mg of cholesterol per day, equivalent to roughly 1½ eggs, was linked to a 3.2% increased risk of heart disease and an increased risk of premature death. 4.4%. In addition, every half of an egg consumed per day was linked to a 1.1% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a 1.9% higher risk of premature death.
While this evidence against eggs sounds scary, the important thing to know is that these findings are not exactly new. Previous research has also shown that dietary cholesterol can raise cholesterol, which is why previous guidelines recommended not eating more than 300 mg of eggs per day. However, those guidelines were relaxed after recent studies claimed that saturated fat was the main cause of high cholesterol, not the cholesterol we eat.
There are also some problems with the research methodology in the most recent study. First, the scientists based the data in this study on what people say they ate, which may be inaccurate. Instead of relying on controlled data, the researchers relied on callbacks from participants.
In addition, the study did not specify how the eggs were prepared. This means that participants may have boiled their eggs in unhealthy vegetable oils, which we know to play a role in heart disease.
Is High Cholesterol Really the Cause of Heart Disease?
One of the biggest problems with the egg argument is the idea that cholesterol is the real cause of heart disease. In the recent Northwestern University study, it was speculated that cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and early mortality in participants. However, other research contradicts this.
Many studies show that people (especially the elderly) with higher cholesterol levels tend to live longer than people with lower cholesterol levels. There are other studies that don’t show a link between heart disease and cholesterol.
Even if we remove cholesterol from the equation, similar studies show no link between eggs and heart disease. A study published shortly before Northwestern University in 2018 found that eating an egg every day was not linked to heart disease or mortality. They even compared higher egg consumption (seven per week) with lower egg consumption (one or less per week) and found no difference in the results.
Note that other research shows that cholesterol levels are not related to the development of heart disease. Yes, it is possible for eggs to raise cholesterol, but we don’t know for sure if this cholesterol is causing cardiovascular problems.
Why Overall Diet Matters
It is important to remember that many other factors play a role in these studies. Since it is difficult to self-isolate eggs in a diet, we need to consider what else participants will eat with the eggs. If the researchers assume that a traditional, low-fat, pyramid-style diet that includes cereals and other products is part of the participants’ “healthy” diets, it can cause inflammation that skews results.
Inflammation can disrupt the functioning of our cholesterol molecules and lead to heart problems such as arteriosclerosis. Although the participants in this study were classified as healthy because they were nonsmokers and active, we also need to determine if they consumed an inflammatory diet that may have affected the way their bodies use cholesterol. that he gets eggs.
So, Do You Need to Give Up Eggs?
Many researchers believe eggs are a valuable part of any diet because they provide important nutrients that many of us lack.
Eggs are filled with protein and contain a large dose of vitamins A, E, and potassium. Egg yolks in particular contain choline, which is vital for liver, muscle, and brain function. This combination of essential nutrients is even more complete than most meats.
If you avoid eggs entirely, you are missing out on a plentiful, affordable source of these vitamins and minerals.
It is also important to consider the quality of the eggs you are eating. Studies show that pastured eggs contain more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than traditional eggs, which can also help prevent heart disease. They’re also high in vitamins A and E. For this reason, it’s best to buy eggs from pasture.
Guidelines for How to Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Because eggs are high in nutrients, we recommend adding them to your diet several times a week. However, a varied diet is always advisable. Therefore, replace eggs with coconut yogurt or fruit for breakfast instead of eggs two to three times a week.