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Eggs Are Back On The Menu!

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Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse that are high in protein and a good source of vitamins (especially B2, B12 and D) and antioxidants (especially lutein and zeaxanthin). Although they are often regarded as high in fat, one large chicken egg only provides 5g fat, of which almost half (47%) is in the form of beneficial monounsaturates similar to those found in olive oil. The remaining fats consist of a balance between saturated fats and polyunsaturates, with free range and barn eggs providing higher amounts of beneficial omega-3s.

At one time, eggs were frowned on due to their cholesterol content. One large egg (50g) provides around 200mg cholesterol, for example, and when dietary cholesterol (and saturated fats) were at the height of their demonisation, eggs were strictly limited for those with a raised blood cholesterol. Researchers have since realised that dietary cholesterol has little impact on your blood cholesterol levels as most circulating cholesterol is produced in your liver. Also, the antioxidants, vitamins, monounsaturates and omega-3s present in eggs have beneficial effects of their own.

A large analysis of 17 studies, involving almost 264,000 people, has conclusively shown that eating one egg a day does not increase the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke – even if your cholesterol level is raised. Although there was concern that people with diabetes might have a higher risk, the recent DIABEGG study concluded that people with type 2 diabetes could safely include eggs in their diet, with those eating two eggs a day, six days a week, not showing any adverse effects on their cholesterol balance over a three month period.

So, if you like eggs but have been restricting your intake, it’s good to know they are back on the menu. In fact, a little bird tells me that the next UK healthy eating guidelines will not place any limit on dietary cholesterol (or saturated fat) intakes at all.

NB If you have a raised cholesterol level please follow the individual advice of your own doctor regarding how many eggs you can eat.

Image credit: Ildi Papp/Bigstock

References

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23295181
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25833969

  #Columns   #Health Hacker   #health   #cholesterol   #diabetes   #eggs

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