Eating an Egg Daily has Risk for Middle Aged Men
In the 1950s and ’60s, home economists raved about the nutritional benefits of eggs, and cookbooks churned out recipes for egg dishes that were hearty enough to serve as dinner. Then along came all those studies linking high cholesterol levels to heart disease and other problems.
In the past decade, research has shown that LDL cholesterol particles vary with respect to their potential to clog arteries and cause heart disease. Adding an egg here or there to your diet may not raise your risk of heart disease even though it may raise your "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, according to a study by researcher Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD, of the University of Connecticut, in a news release in 2004.
"We found that the dietary cholesterol in eggs does raise the LDL1 and LDL2 [types] but it does not impact the small, dense LDL3 through LDL7 particles that are the greatest threat for cardiovascular disease risk," says researcher Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD, of the University of Connecticut, in a news release. The study appears in the June 2007 issue of the journal Metabolism and was supported by the American Egg Board and the University of Connecticut Research Foundation.
The benefits of eating eggs:
- Improve immune function
- Keep eyes healthy
- Lower cancer risk
- Lower heart disease risk
- Reduce osteoporosis
- Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrition and can greatly strengthen your health. A great source of protein, Vitamins A and D and Folic acid, the adrenalbuilding minerals: choline, sodium and potassium. Eggs are a rich source of phosphorus and also sulfur.
- Eggs combine best with lots of alkaline land and ocean vegetables and of course, cultured vegetables. These are alkaline and help create balance with the acidic nature of animal protein foods including eggs.
- Eggs provide two powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the retina and reduce the risk of cataracts and agerelated macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of agerelated blindness. Such are the findings of two randomized clinical studies published recently at The Journal of Nutrition.
- "And when we look at all the other studies that have been published, they show that easily an egg a day can fit into a healthy diet with no change in heartdisease risk for the average person and those with diabetes," Donald McNamara, executive director of the Washington, D.C.based Egg Nutrition Center added. "Eggs also provide some very important nutrients in terms of high quality protein and choline, which we know is insufficient in the diet today. So, you have to balance out the nutritional contribution of eggs in the diet relative to this kind of a study, which presents a very unique finding which has not been presented anywhere else, and has a lot of variables included that we don't know enough about.
- "Eggs are like all other foods they are neither 'good' nor 'bad', and they can be part of an overall hearthealthy diet," Eckel said. But he suggested that those wary of the high cholesterol content in whole eggs might want to skip yolks in favor of egg whites, which are ripe with protein, riboflavin and selenium.
- And Lona Sandon, a registered dietician and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said that "the white part of the egg is the gold standard for protein."
- "It contains all the essential immunoacids that your muscle needs for building," she said. "It's better than beef even. And it's one of the cheapest sources of protein as well. There are some good things in the yolk as well. But for someone who has had their cholesterol measured and found to have high LDL, the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association say watch your egg consumption, and try not to consume more than two yolks per week."
A randomized study at Louisiana State University found that overweight and obese women who consumed a breakfast of 2 eggs a day for 5 or more days a week for 8 weeks, lost 65% more weight, had an 83% greater reduction in waist circumference and reported greater improvements in energy levels that the women who consumed a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories. This confirmed a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, which found an egg breakfast induced greater satiety and significantly reduced shortterm food intake compared to a calorically equivalent bagel breakfast.
But since then quite a few studies have suggested that an egg a day may not raise your risk of heart attack or stroke after all. And while the evidence is still inconsistent, some health experts now say that that it’s OK to eat an egg every day, particularly if you don’t have heart disease or another condition, such as diabetes, that puts you at higher risk for heart problems.
Adding eggs to a carbohydraterestricted diet (CRD) regime increases the serum level of highdensity lipoprotein bound cholesterol (HDLC) without increasing the LDLC, reports a research team from the University of Connecticut. HDL, also known as good cholesterol, removes cholesterol from plaques inside the arteries and ferries it back to the liver for excretion or reutilization, thereby cutting down the risks of cardiovascular diseases. The present study shows that including eggs as part of low carbohydrate diet increased the good cholesterol (HDL), which protects against LDLmediated formation of plaques inside the artery walls. Such plaques increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases. The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition on the February 2008 edition.
How do they fit into a healthy diet? Advice on the subject is often confusing. After developing a bad reputation among some health advocates, the egg was given a bit of a reprieve in 2000 when new American Heart Association dietary guidelines upped the limit from three or four a week to one a day.
But the guidelines were recently clarified again amid concerns that people would believe they could eat them carte blanche. The AHA now says if you choose to eat an egg a day, you need to keep an eye on your total cholesterol intake. That's because the average large egg contributes a whopping 213 milligrams of cholesterol toward the total 300 milligrams recommended daily maximum.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of oneeggaday that the participants in group I may have more labile serum cholesterol. In that study they found 76% of the men decreased their serum cholesterol when they were not eating eggs. In the twoegg study 82% of group I had decreased serum cholesterol when they were not eating eggs.
Another explanation besides serum liability would be that the sequence of eating two eggs to eating no eggs has a greater effect on serum cholesterol than the sequence of not eating eggs to eating two eggs, although the statistics do not show this to be significant.
Researchers in Japan found that women who consumed one or more eggs a day were more likely to die during the 14year study than women who ate one or two eggs a week. The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004.
After being shunned not so long ago for their cholesterolrich yolks, eggs have made a comeback in recent years. Research has shown that moderate consumption may not raise a person's cholesterol levels or heart disease risk, and eggs are welcome in lowcarb eating plans.
However, health experts still recommend limiting egg yolks, as one yolk contains about twothirds of a healthy adult's suggested allotment of cholesterol. The American Heart Association says healthy adults can have up to one egg per day, as long as they watch their intake of other cholesterol sources such as meat and dairy products.
Recently a new study suggests that consuming more than six eggs a week seems to raise the risk of dying from all causes. And diabetics seem to face an even higher mortality risk, according to the study that was limited to men.
"The more eggs diabetic men consumed, the more they increased their risk for death," said study lead author Dr. Luc Djousse, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Djousse and his team analyzed egg consumption and mortality data among more than 21,000 men who had participated in a Physician's Health Study that explored heart disease and cancer prevention among American male doctors.
Participants ranged in age from 40 to 86. Over an average of 20 years, all the doctors completed annual written questionnaires on daily egg consumption, stroke and heart attack incidence, diabetes status, cholesterol levels, alcohol and smoking habits, and general dietary information.
On average, the physicians were found to have consumed one egg a week a rate the study authors termed "relatively low."
Overall, egg consumption wasn't found to be associated with heart attack or stroke risk. And consumption of up to six eggs a week also wasn't found to be associated with a higher risk of death from all causes. But eating seven or more eggs a week among healthy study participants was linked to a 23 percent higher risk of death.
Even more striking was the finding that mortality risk was much higher among those doctors with diabetes. Consuming seven or more eggs a week doubled their risk of death from all causes, compared with diabetic doctors who ate just one egg each week.
The findings were published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and elevated LDL ("bad") cholesterol is a prime risk factor for cardiovascular trouble. And while eggs are rich in cholesterol and circulating cholesterol is related to the risk of cardiovascular disease the relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol is complex. Some studies have suggested that dietary cholesterol doesn't affect blood cholesterol levels in many people, but it may in other individuals, such as those with diabetes, the researchers noted.
A single egg contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol just 100 milligrams shy of the daily limit advocated for those at risk for heart disease, the researchers added.
On the other hand, eggs are a source of minerals, folate, B vitamins, protein and monounsaturated fats all of which have the potential to lower overall risk.
To explain the finding on diabetic men, the researchers theorized that diabetics might somehow convert dietary cholesterol more readily into blood cholesterol than people without diabetes.
"We need additional data to confirm these findings, so it's kind of premature to advice against egg consumption until we have more information," Djousse said.
"Eggs often get a bad rap, perhaps because they are often paired with [arteryclogging foods like] bacon and sausage," adds Dr. KeithThomas Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "I'd actually rather see people skip the bacon and sausage and keep the eggs."
In an accompanying editorial published in the journal, Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Colorado and cochair of both the Cardiometabolic Health Congress and the Committee on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, echoed some of McNamara's comments and called for more research to validate the study findings.