Study further unscrambles egg-cholesterol myth
Published Thursday, February 12, 2009 1:28PM EST
New research has taken another crack at the myths surrounding eggs. The study found that not only will eggs not raise cholesterol levels, eating two a day while on a calorie-restricted diet could actually help you lose weight, thereby lowering cholesterol.
A research team from the University of Surrey led by professor of nutritional metabolism Bruce Griffin fed two eggs per day to overweight but otherwise healthy volunteers for 12 weeks while they followed a reduced-calorie diet prescribed by the British Heart Foundation. A second group followed the BHF diet also but cut out eggs altogether.
Both groups lost between 3 to 4 kg (7- 9 lbs) and saw a fall in the average level of blood cholesterol, the research, to be published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found.
When blood cholesterol was measured at both six weeks and 12 weeks, both groups showed either no change or a reduction, particularly in their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. That was despite the fact that the egg group had increased their dietary cholesterol intake to around four times that of the non-egg group.
The research supports the growing belief that it's saturated and trans fats in the diet that are responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels, rather than cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs.
"There is no convincing evidence to link an increased intake of dietary cholesterol or eggs with coronary heart disease through raised blood cholesterol," Griffin said. "Indeed, eggs make a nutritional contribution to a healthy, calorie-restricted diet. We have shown that when two eggs a day are eaten by people who are actively losing weight on a calorie-restricted diet, blood cholesterol can still be reduced."
It's thought that only 20 to 30 per cent of blood cholesterol can be attributed to diet. More significant factors linked to high cholesterol levels are being overweight, a lack of exercise, and smoking.
The British Heart Foundation used to restrict egg intake to three to four per week, but recently removed those restrictions.