If we are to enumerate some of the good things about eggs, these three will come out on top of the list: delicious, nourishing, and cost little. Turning to a couple of their drawbacks, eggs are high in cholesterol and can cause certain illnesses if consumed undercooked or, worse, raw. While the latter drawback appears quite easy to address with proper cooking, it is the former, ranged against the mentioned advantages, that causes much uncertainty to many people as to whether they should indulge or limit their intake.
In the late 1960’s, the American Heart Association (AHA) advised that people should limit their weekly intake of eggs to three. This medical advisory was the result of several scientific studies which showed that having a continuously high level of blood cholesterol can pave the way for the development of atherosclerosis, the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessel walls that causes hardening of the arteries. This condition is a major underlying cause of stroke and heart attack.
But an analysis of more comprehensive studies undertaken much later by epidemiologists proved that healthy people can actually consume an egg every day and this won’t likely have any considerable impact on their risk of having stroke or coronary heart disease. Because of this, the AHA withdrew its earlier advisory, declaring almost thirty years later from its issuance thereof that it was “…no longer making any new recommendation as to the number of eggs a person should consume each week…”; it further issued a revised guideline, advising people to “…limit (instead) their intake of cholesterol from foods having a high content of animal fats.” In this way, the AHA said that the dietary guidelines for the intake of saturated fat can easily be met even when a person consumes eggs periodically.
On the average, a whole egg has only seventy calories; yet it supplies approximately ten percent of a person’s daily protein requirements, on top of providing generous portions of other nourishing substances. An egg’s yolk has about two hundred fifteen milligrams of dietary cholesterol, while the whole egg itself has about two grams of saturated fat. As has been established in many studies, high cholesterol levels are caused by saturated fat and not dietary cholesterol. These same studies point to the findings that consuming three eggs daily had virtually no effect on the blood cholesterol of the healthy young people who were tested.
It is evident from all these that our body acts toward cholesterol from eggs in a different way from how it reacts to cholesterol derived from other animal products. It is also possible, according to some health experts, that the other healthful nutrients in eggs – particularly choline (an alkaline compound that acts as a fat emulsifier) – have an opposing effect on what cholesterol does to the body.
Most health experts now say that consuming four to five eggs a week is safe for a person whose blood cholesterol is in the normal level. On the other hand, the same experts advise people with high levels of blood cholesterol to limit their consumption of eggs, and that they should focus on lowering saturated fat in their diet and on shedding excess weight.
Sources: http://www.annecollins.com/diet_news/cholesterol-eggs.htm and “The Truth About Eggs” by Sebastien Stefanoy at http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_60/66b_eating_well.html