Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and iodine, and can make a big contribution to a healthy diet. And now the myths about cholesterol and eggs have been cracked, as well as new research on their satiating qualities, there's even more reason for you and your patients to enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.
It used to be thought that eating cholesterol-rich foods was directly linked to an increase in blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease, but evidence presented to the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal School of Medicine (RSM) suggests that dietary cholesterol is not a major source of high blood cholesterol levels.
It is now accepted that it is the saturated fat in our diet that adversely affects our blood cholesterol levels rather than the dietary cholesterol that we consume. This means that most of the population can eat an egg a day, in combination with a diet low in saturated fat, without adversely affecting their blood cholesterol levels.(1)
In light of this evidence, the American Heart Association has revised its recommendations to allow an egg a day as part of a healthy balanced diet. The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently confirmed that there is no weekly limit to the number of eggs we can eat.
In the latest published evidence, researchers from Yale found that feeding two eggs a day to healthy volunteers had no detrimental effect on blood cholesterol levels, body mass index or blood fats. They concluded that egg consumption and dietary cholesterol may be less detrimental to heart health than previously thought. (2)
Eggs, slimming and satiety
Research has also shown that eating an egg a day could help those who want to lose weight. Although most dietary advice recommends following a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, evidence suggests that by following the same low fat diet, but replacing the high- carbohydrate (HC) foods with high-protein (HP) foods such as eggs, significantly more weight is lost after a six-month period (a loss of 8.9 kg on HP vs 5.1 kg on HC). The research also suggests that by permitting a diet containing 25% of energy from protein (compared to a recommendation of 15%), could help to regulate the population's weight.(3)
A research team from the Louisiana State University also found that by giving two eggs a day for breakfast, overweight and obese women lost more weight than those eating bagels.(4)
The women in the study were asked to follow a low calorie diet while eating either a bagel or egg-based breakfast – each breakfast contained equal calories.
The researchers believe that it is testament to the satiating quality of eggs that led the egg-eating women to lose 65% more weight than the bagel group. Not only did they lose more weight, but the egg group felt more energetic too.
This research on satiety could have far reaching consequences in terms of helping to combat the current obesity crisis and the rising numbers of people affected by diseases that are diet related.
For the latest information on cholesterol, nutrition and patient resources, log on to www.nutritionandeggs.co.uk or contact the British Egg Information Service on 020 7808 9790.
For more information come and visit stand 37 at the Nursing in Practice London event on 5 September or join the "Dietary cholesterol, eggs and coronary heart disease risk in perspective" workshop at 2.35pm on 26 September.
1. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Ascherio A, Colditz GA, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of CVD in men and women; JAMA 1999;15:1387-94.
2. Katz DL, Evans MA, Nawaz H, Njike VY, Chan W, Comerford BP, Hoxley ML. Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Int J Cardiol 2005;10:65-70.
3. Astrup A, Buemann B, Flint A, Raben A. Low fat diets and energy balance: how does the evidence stand in 2002? Proc Nutr Soc 2002;61:299-309.
4. Dhurandhar NV, et al. Eggs for breakfast help promote weight
loss. Presented at the Experimental Biology 2007 meeting.
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