As we are increasingly headed towards a healthy lifestyle, numerous myths surrounding nutrition are also being brought to the limelight. For instance, eggs and their possible connection to increasing cholesterol levels. Now, for a person who loves egg and has made it a breakfast staple, it is a bummer to know that their favourite treat could pose a threat to their heart in the long run. So is it really true? Experts suggest they may not be an alarming cause of worry just as yet.
Eggs have about 373 mg cholesterol per 100 gm, of which egg yolk has the maximum quanta of cholesterol as per USDA. A number of studies have found that individuals who consume moderate amounts of eggs do not face increased cholesterol levels. Both meat and eggs are high in cholesterol, but the effect of eggs on blood cholesterol with effect of trans fats and saturated fats, is pretty minimal and limited.
Consultant nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta says, “No, they don’t give you a major cholesterol spike that you should be removing them off your pantry completely. However, excess of eggs can cause harm. Have one egg a day, which is adequate. If you are a vegetarian who happens to eat eggs, it is the best source of protein. If you are a hard core non-vegetarian, eating large quantities of eggs a day, along with red meat and chicken, then of course it can be a problem.”
Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood says, “I call eggs a complete food. Its high biological value makes it reference point for other food. It is one of the best sources of proteins, however, excess of anything can be harmful. For instance, as you age, your metabolism declines, therefore while a child or a youngster can (and should) consume a day without much worry, it might prove to be a tad risky affair for those in their 40’s, battling with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eat balanced food; if your eat meat in moderation then 3-4 eggs in a week won’t harm you.”
She adds, “Even in the egg, there are parts you can pick and choose from. It is the yolk of the egg that raises the lipid profiling , hence maybe you can choose to avoid that and load up on egg whites. Two egg whites a day are adequate protein for the day. “
Macrobiotic nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora notes, “Several recent studies suggest that instead of contributing to heart disease, eggs actually lower the risk. These results highlight the fact that saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol, is what influences blood cholesterol most. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was shown that people who reported eating four eggs per week had a significantly lower mean serum cholesterol concentration than those who reported eating one egg per week. The bottom line from all the existing research is that most people can eat one or two eggs with their yolks per day without measurable changes in their blood cholesterol levels.”
So enjoy your daily dose of eggs without worry. However, that doesn’t mean you start piling the six-eggs omelettes daily. Moderation is the key here. Hypertension and diabetic patients should practice extra caution.