Hard Boiled Eggs - © olgasflavorfactory.com

Eggs And Health: An Optimistic Update

Rarely a month goes by that we don’t see a new study that either recommends eating more eggs or fewer ones, depending on the results of the latest research. Often these reports just echo former ones. But today we present a new study backed by a huge data mining effort…

Mountain of Eggs - © artigercek.comA mountain of eggs in a Canadian regional egg distribution cold storage facility.
Imagine how big a fridge they’d need to store enough eggs to feed
everyone in China one egg a day. China’s population
as of last count? 1,448,471,400! And rising…

Where better to conduct massive – conclusive – diet and nutrition studies than in China, the most populous country in  the world? That’s where this latest study concerning the pluses and minuses of eating eggs comes from, and the results seem conclusive.

What they did

According to an abstract of the new report, “Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain a variety of essential nutrients. There is conflicting evidence as to whether egg consumption is beneficial or harmful to heart health. A 2018 study published in the journal Heart, which included approximately half a million adults in China, found that those who ate [one egg per day] had a substantially lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who ate eggs less frequently. Now, to better understand this relationship, the authors of this work have carried out a population-based study exploring how egg consumption affects markers of cardiovascular health in the blood.”

Sounds pretty simple. But it was harder than you might think.

That’s because the team selected a study group selected of 4,778 participants from the masive China Kadoorie Biobank survey, of whom 3,401 had a cardiovascular disease and 1,377 did not. Then they had to collect blood samples from all the participants, and run targeted nuclear magnetic resonance analyses on each for 225 metabolites.

What they found

The team discovered that subjects who ate ‘a moderate amount’ of eggs had higher levels of HDL – good cholesterol – in their blood than those who ate less. That pointed to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease for those lucky souls.

The researchers also identified 14 metabolites that are linked to heart disease. Participants who ate fewer eggs had lower levels of beneficial metabolites and higher levels of harmful ones in their blood, compared to those who ate more eggs regularly.

The takeaway

Study senior author Liming Li, of Peking University says “This study may also have implications for Chinese national dietary guidelines. […] Current guidelines suggest eating one egg a day, but data indicate that the average consumption is lower than this. Our work highlights the need for more strategies to encourage moderate egg consumption among the population, to help lower the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.”

My take

This Chinese study supports other recent western reports suggesting that eggs are actually heart healthy, when included in a healthy diet and not taken to extremes. I like the sound of that. Another blow to the stuck-up sticky-beak blowhards in the ivory towers who insist that pure chemistry can provide the answers to such complex questions as dietary and health issues. And another nod to common sense!

~ Maggie J.