Eating eggs does not significantly raise the body’s cholesterol levels, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey and published in the Nutrition Bulletin of the British Heart Foundation.
The researchers reviewed the results of several different studies on eggs and nutrition, concluding that eggs did not contribute significantly to the body’s cholesterol levels. Although eggs are in fact a high-cholesterol food, the researchers note that only one-third of the body’s cholesterol comes from dietary sources; the rest is produced by the body from saturated fats. As a consequence, saturated fat intake plays a far more significant role.
“The ingrained misconception linking egg consumption to high blood cholesterol and heart disease must be corrected,” researcher Bruce Griffin said. “The amount of saturated fat in our diet exerts an effect on blood cholesterol that is several times greater than the relatively small amounts of dietary cholesterol.”
The researchers note that other factors, such as obesity, a sedentary lifestyle or smoking also have greater effects on cholesterol levels or the risk of cardiovascular disease than egg consumption does.
“The public does not need to be limiting the number of eggs they eat,” Griffin said. “Indeed, they can be encouraged to include them in a healthy diet, as they are one of nature’s most nutritionally dense foods.”
Up until 2007, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommended that people limit their intake of eggs to three per week, as a way of reducing the risk of heart disease. That advice is now considered outdated.
“We recommend that eggs can be eaten as part of a balanced diet,” said Victoria Taylor of the BHF. “There is cholesterol present in eggs, but this does not usually make a great contribution to your level of blood cholesterol. If you need to reduce your cholesterol level, it is more important that you cut down on the amount of saturated fat in your diet from foods like fatty meat, full fat dairy products, and cakes, biscuits and pastries.”
Once you get past the assumption that eggs are terrible for you, there is
room to discover the myriad of health benefits that come with eating them regularly. Eggs are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals in forms that can be easily absorbed. These include vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in addition to iron, zinc, lecithin and choline. All of these help contribute to brain function, a healthy metabolism and disease prevention.
Eggs are also a great source of protein, especially for those who don’t consume very much meat. It can be difficult to obtain all of the essential amino acids – the ones our bodies can’t produce – if you eat a diet mostly based in grains. An egg contains each of the nine essential amino acids, making it a top source for these nutrients.
Of course, all eggs are not created equal. Commercial eggs are a nutritionally poor substitute for organic, free-range eggs. Chickens that are allowed to roam free provide eggs with a higher protein and vitamin content, while organic practices mean harmful pesticides and chemicals won’t find their way into your breakfast. You can also look for eggs that contain higher levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids. These come from chickens that have been fed a special diet high in those healthy omega-3s.
If you’ve been afraid to commit nutritional sacrilege by enjoying a tasty omelet in the morning or a boiled egg for an afternoon snack, set your fears aside and relish in the wholesome goodness of one of mother nature’s best gifts.
NOTE – It is highly recommended to purchase and consume free ranged eggs with zero hormones and chemicals.
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