The Truth About Eating Eggs

Are eggs good for your health or bad and cause heart disease? Well experts advise egg consumption should be part of a healthy lifestyle to be beneficial. But fears that eggs can be bad for us appear to have been laid to rest.

We know Eggs are packed with protein, readily available, easy to cook and affordable. If there was such a thing as a perfect food, eggs would be a contender. Eating eggs with other foods can also helps our body absorb more vitamins, too. But, are they really all they’re cracked up to be?

For years eating eggs has been controversial, mainly due to their high cholesterol content. Some studies have linked this to an increased risk of heart disease. But, does that mean eating too many eggs may actually be doing us harm? First, we need to look closely at cholesterol.

Cholesterol is crucial for building cells

Cholesterol is crucial for building cells and helps the body make vitamin D along with testosterone and oestrogen. Our liver and intenstines produce all the cholesterol we need, but it’s also found in animal produce such as beef, prawns, eggs, cheese and butter. It’s carried around the body in our blood by different types of lipoprotein, and that’s important because it’s responsible for the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.

The Bad Cholesterol

Firstly, researchers haven’t conclusively linked consuming cholesterol with an increased risk of heart disease. Instead, they’re far more worried about how much saturated fat or ‘trans fats’ we consume. High levels of this can be found in things like margarine, snacks or some deep-fried or baked goods. Trans fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because they boost our LDL cholesterol level. Also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. However, eggs (and prawns) are the only foods high in cholesterol, but low in saturated fat.

eggs and prawns

The Good Cholesterol

The good cholesterol HDL cholesterol, which may actually be good for us. It could have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease by preventing other cholesterol from building up in the blood. If you’ve ever had a cholesterol test, you’ll know it’s the ratio of HDL to LDL that matters, as more HDL counteracts the effects of LDL. But does it all mater?

good cholesterol sources

Incredibly, your body might be able to compensate for the amount of cholesterol you consume, by making less itself. So, for most people, dietary cholesterol isn’t a problem. And a review of 40 studies in 2015 found no conclusive link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. So, it makes sense that research by the University of Connecticut found no link between eating eggs and cardiovascular disease.

dietary cholesterol, bread and butter

So, is one of the world’s favorite breakfast foods finally out of hot water? Well, one recent study did find that an additional half an egg per day was linked to a higher risk of heart disease. While one previous analysis of half a million adults in China found the exact opposite. Egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of heart disease. However, they were both observational, meaning it’s impossible to tease out cause and effect.

boiled egg

Eggs are also a great source of lutein – a pigment that has beenlinked to better eyesight and a lower risk of eye disease. And eggs may help protect us from Alzheimer’s disease through a compound called choline. But, while researchers are a long way from truly understanding the humble egg’s pros and cons. The vast majority of recent research suggests they pose no risk, and are much more likely to be good for our health. Cracking stuff.