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Consuming Twelve Eggs Every Week Does Not Increase Cholesterol: Research

A recent study that will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Sessions in Atlanta found that among U.S. people 50 years of age or older, eating more than a dozen fortified eggs per week did not adversely affect cholesterol levels as compared to an egg-free diet.

The study provides more proof that eggs, which were long demonized as an unwarranted source of elevated cholesterol, can be included in a nutritious and well-balanced diet, especially for those who are more susceptible to heart disease.

In the study, 140 persons over 50 who either had heart disease or at least two heart disease risk factors were divided into two groups: those who ate less than two eggs a week or more than 12 fortified eggs a week. Omega-3 fatty acids and extra vitamins, such vitamin D, are added to fortified eggs, which are usually produced by hens fed nutrient-enriched diets. The cholesterol levels of the research participants were checked at the start of the trial and then again after four months.

The findings indicate that there was no significant difference in the levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) or HDL (“good”) between the two groups, indicating that consuming at least 12 fortified eggs per week had no adverse impact on cholesterol levels.

Since fortified eggs may have higher concentrations of “vitamins D, B and E, omega-fatty acids, iodine along with lower saturated fat,” they were selected, according to study lead author and research fellow Dr. Nina Nouhravesh of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

Nouhravesh highlighted that in the research, among those who had “heart disease or at risk of developing heart disease, the consumption of 12 fortified eggs per week did not negatively impact their cholesterol over 4 months, when compared to patients who were on a non-egg supplemented diet.”

“The urban myth out there is that eggs are bad for your heart. It’s not a total myth, but we’ve known that guidelines for healthy eating took out previous advice to limit dietary cholesterol, because it really didn’t make a big difference in overall cholesterol. The cholesterol is in the egg yolk,”  stated Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“As we get older, we need higher amounts of protein to maintain muscle mass. Muscle mass and physical strength are two predictors for healthy aging. It’s important to maintain and build muscle mass at middle age and beyond. Eggs are an inexpensive, widely available source of protein,” according to O’Keefe.

Eggs are a great source of protein and are generally considered to be healthful. However, doctors advise patients to consult with them regarding whether a high-egg diet is suitable for them based on their specific dietary requirements and cholesterol levels.

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