February 27, 2020
If you Google the health benefits vs. risks of eggs, it won’t be long before your brain feels fried. In the past month alone, two conflicting studies have hit headlines.
The Truth About Eggs – And How Many Is Too Many
The first study, published in the European Heart Journal, suggests eating eggs can increase the risk of some types of stroke. The researchers found that for every extra 20g of eggs consumed a day, there was a 25% higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke – a type that accounts for 15% of all strokes, caused by bleeding in the brain that damages nearby cells. The second study, however, suggests the opposite. The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found “no significant associations” between eating up to seven eggs per week and instances of heart disease or stroke. The authors also pointed out that eggs offer “a rich source of essential nutrients”. 
Dr Frankie Phillips, a dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA), says as with all research, there are conflicting reports. But, she tells HuffPost UK: “All major heart and health advisory bodies in the UK agree that the cholesterol in eggs has no significant effect on heart disease risk.”READ MORE: Cholesterol Should Be On Everyone's Radar – Can You Control It? Where does the confusion come from, then?Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, says “messaging around eggs can often be scrambled” because egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol. Many of us have a vague idea that high cholesterol is bad for our health – but that oversimplifies the equation and makes eggs the scapegoat.  
“Like high blood pressure, having a high cholesterol level is a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases,” Taylor explains. “However, for most people it’s the cholesterol we produce in our bodies that is more important – and this is influenced more by the amount of saturated fat we eat.”
Our understanding of how cholesterol in food is metabolised in the body “has come a long way”, adds Dr Phillips. “We know that there are other dietary factors involved in raising blood cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease.”Public confusion around eggs may also stem from outdated warnings around food safety, experts believe. For example, you might remember your grandma freaking out if you licked the baking bowl as a kid – or dared to eat an egg slightly “underdone”. 
“We now know that Lion-stamped eggs are free of salmonella and can be consumed runny – dippy eggs are okay even for toddlers,” says Dr Phillips. So I can happily chow down on eggs for breakfast?Correct! For most people, the positive health impacts of eggs will outweigh the negative.
“Eggs are the perfect balance of amino acids to make up the proteins the body needs,” explains Phillips. “They also provide a host of nutrients including iron, iodine, selenium, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin D. They are actually quite low in saturated fat, so wouldn’t be expected to have a significant negative impact on blood cholesterol.”
It’s important to remember, though, that your cooking method can impact an egg’s nutritional value. “Although they are low in saturated fat, eggs can have a lot of fat added to them,” adds Phillips. “If they are fried or slathered in mayonnaise that adds a lot of extra fat, including saturated fat, and also adding extra salt can have implications for blood pressure.”
She recommends opting for boiled, poached, or an omelette – fried or scrambled with lots of butter should be reserved as a treat. Is there such thing as too many eggs? The advice on eggs has changed in the past couple of decades as our understanding has developed, says Taylor, but it has been the same for more than 10 years now. “For most people, there is no specific limit on the number of eggs we should eat in a week, and it’s fine to eat them as part of a healthy and balanced diet,” she says. 
Phillips agrees, adding: “Provided it still fits with a balanced diet, seven eggs a week is fine.” 
However, you may want to limit your consumption if you’ve been diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolaemia – a type of high cholesterol that’s inherited. “It’s still okay to eat some eggs, but just a couple a week,” says Phillips. 
When it comes to a diet that will help lower your overall risk of heart and circulatory diseases, variety is key, says Taylor. Eat eggs, by all means, she says, but include plenty of fruit and vegetables alongside foods like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and oils, as well as white and oily fish in your diet. READ MORE: Is Tofu Really Worse Than Meat For The Environment? These Foods Can Change The Colour Of Your Poo This Is Why People Gain Weight As They Get Older
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