06 January 2009

Eggs... Reconsidered

Elevated levels of blood cholesterol are a key factor in the development of the heart disease. But singling out eggs as villains, because they are high in cholesterol, is misleading. Recent studies suggest that limiting the amount of saturated fat in your diet is much more effective in lowering blood cholesterol consumption. The current consensus is that young women who eat around 1800 calories a day should eat no more than 60 grams of fat (and only 20 grams of saturated fat) per day; cholesterol consumption should be under 300 mg per day. Here are leading experts’ comments.

Should you worry about eggs or not?

Joan Horbiak, R.D., spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association: “You really can’t find anything higher in cholesterol than an egg (except for organ meats), but that’s not the figure to look at. It’s much more important to lower saturated fat, which has a more potent effect on blood cholesterol. Eggs aren’t high in saturated fat compared to other foods. Meat is the number one source of fat in the American diet. Another source is cheese, which is higher in fat than most meat cuts. Yet, we eat it as snack.”

James Cleeman, M.D., coordinator, cholesterol education program, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI): “I think it’s a mistake to single out any one food. What’s important for the public to know is that it’s the total diet that counts. If people focus exclusively on eggs and don’t worry about saturated fats in whole-milk products or commercial baked goods, if they make a fetish of eggs and forget about everything else, they haven’t done themselves a favor.”

Should you limit the number of eggs you eat?

Horbiak: “You should still keep egg consumption under three yolks a week because of their cholesterol count. The American Diabetic Association currently recommends that we eat under 300 mg of cholesterol per day. But that should be a hardship for women, their average daily intake is 305 mg. (For men, it’s 420 mg)

Willaim Castelli, M.D., medical director of the Framington Heart Study: “The strongest data show there is correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol, and it does warrant concern.

John C. LaRosa, M.D., chairman of the American Heart Association nutrition committee: “You can eat as many egg whites as you want. All cholesterol and fat are in the yolk. In fact, egg whites are a very high quality food; they contain virtually no fat – like skim milk.”

What about “hidden eggs” in prepared food?

Nancy Ernst, M.S,, R.D., nutritionist coordinator of NHLBI: “The biggest problem in prepared foods, such as baked goods, is the saturated fat used in the shortenings, not the cholesterol in the egg yolks. Eggs are an easy target for cholesterol education because they’re easily recognizable. But compared with other blood-cholesterol lowering activities, such as cutting saturated fats, exercising and eating fiber-rich foods, cutting dietary cholesterol by eating fewer eggs would be near the bottom of the list.”



eva January 6, 2009 at 8:27 AM  

Happy New Year alma!


Kev January 6, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

weird. Research findings keep changing. Egg is known as being one of the causes of high cholesterol, now they're looking at its saturated fat which is good for health. In the future, even this kind of fat is not good...

well, the moral of the story is, eat in moderation. We eat to live, not live to eat :)



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