Why Eggs are Good
July 25th, 2017 188 post views
I often see my chiropractic patients when I’m out and about around Eastbourne. Today I was asked whether eggs are good for us or not. In the news they seem to swap from being super healthy to causing heart disease in an instant, so hopefully this blog can help clear up any confusion. Most of the confusion stems from a misunderstanding of what cholesterol is, so I will begin by explaining that.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver, but is also found in some foods. It plays a very important role in how every cell works. It is needed to make vitamin D, some hormones and bile for digestion.
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. Most cholesterol is LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is more likely to clog blood vessels because it carries the cholesterol away from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can stick to the blood vessels.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, on the other hand, carries the cholesterol back to the liver where it is broken down.
The fear with eggs revolves around cholesterol levels. This fear exists because cholesterol is linked to heart disease, and eggs contain cholesterol. Therefore, eggs must cause heart disease right? Well, there are many studies out there showing that dietary cholesterol levels have no link to blood cholesterol levels:
- Stanley, J. (2010). Dietary cholesterol, blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Lipid Technology, 22(5), pp.110-112. This is an article showing the general lack of association between dietary and blood cholesterol. However, it does say that dietary cholesterol can increase blood cholesterol for diabetics.
- Fernandez, M. (2006). Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 9(1), pp.8-12. This study concludes that “diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet.”
- Nakamura, Y., Iso, H., et al., (2006). Egg consumption, serum total cholesterol concentrations and coronary heart disease incidence: Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study. BJN, 96(05). This long-term study explicitly states there is no association between egg consumption, cholesterol, and heart disease.
- Hagberg, J., Ferrell, R., et al., (1999). Apolipoprotein E genotype and exercise training—induced increases in plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL)- and HDL2-cholesterol levels in overweight men. Metabolism, 48(8), pp.943-945. This (very complicated sounding) study finds that including eggs in a low-carb diet had no effect other than increasing HDL numbers. So in this study, eggs appear to actually REDUCE the risk of heart disease.
What about for Diabetics?
From the studies available, there is no link between eggs and blood cholesterol levels. In some there is actually a reduced risk of heart disease when consuming a lot of eggs. However, this all changes if you suffer from diabetes. There are other studies out there showing that increased egg consumption in people with diabetes leads to higher incidence of heart disease:
- Qureshi AI, et al. Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Med Sci Monit. (2007). This shows that there is an increased risk of heart disease when looking at diabetics consuming more than six eggs a week.
- Hu FB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. (1999). This study found that there was an increased risk of heart disease in diabetic persons when they consumed one egg a week compared to no eggs a week.
However, when a diabetic person undertakes a weight loss diet while consuming eggs, the risk of heart disease falls dramatically:
- Pearce KL, Clifton PM, Noakes M. Egg consumption as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet improves blood lipid and blood glucose profiles in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Br J Nutr. (2011). During this study on obese diabetic persons, the group consuming two eggs daily as well as undertaking a weight loss diet over 12 weeks was able to increase HDL cholesterol compared to the other group, which was a low egg control group. On top of this, there was no significant difference between groups on LDL or total cholesterol, which decreased in both groups equally.
- Cholesterol, on the whole, is a vitally important substance
- There are two types of cholesterol: HDL, the good kind, and LDL, the bad kind
- Eggs contain a large variety of nutrients, as well as dietary cholesterol
- Dietary cholesterol doesn’t cause or promote cardiovascular diseases in healthy persons
- Diabetics may need to exert some caution if eggs are not consumed alongside a weight loss program.
- However, for the average person, eggs are an amazing source of protein and nutrients, and don’t appear to contribute to cholesterol levels of heart disease
As a chiropractor, I believe it is important to offer more to my patients than chiropractic treatment alone. I like to give people as much advice as I can, whether that be about exercise or nutrition.
Hopefully this blog has helped to clear up any confusion you were having about eggs, and perhaps when you’re travelling in the country lanes around Eastbourne you will look out for local, organic eggs! If you have any other nutrition related questions, then just ask me when you’re in for your next chiropractic adjustment or contact us here.