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Eggs and Cholesterol. b y: Ashley Dudley, Tsz Wing Ho and Mjin Song. Outline. Misconceptions about eggs and cholesterol Cholesterol – dietary vs blood Cardiovascular disease Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome Dietary Recommendations Health Benefits Weight loss. Common Misconceptions.

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eggs and cholesterol

Eggs and Cholesterol

by: Ashley Dudley, Tsz Wing Ho and Mjin Song

  • Misconceptions about eggs and cholesterol
  • Cholesterol – dietary vs blood
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Dietary Recommendations
  • Health Benefits
  • Weight loss
common misconceptions
Common Misconceptions

People often believe that…

  • Dietary cholesterol directly affect blood cholesterol
  • Eggs contain high amounts of fat
  • Contributes to atherosclerosis
  • Greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases
  • Egg consumption should be limited or avoided
cholesterol dietary vs blood
Cholesterol: dietary vs blood
  • Dietary cholesterol may not directly affect serum cholesterol
    • 1/3 population is hypersensitive
    • Little effect on LDL:HDL ratio
    • Maintains ratio – key marker of CHD risk
  • Different types of LDL
    • Larger, more buoyant particles less atherogenic
  • Many studies blamed cholesterol for adverse results, but dietary cholesterol intake is often correlated with saturated fat intake; high saturated fat intake is associated with high blood cholesterol and CHD.
cholesterol studies
Cholesterol Studies
  • 1913 study by Anitschkow and Chalatow showed that feeding high amounts of cholesterol to rabbits induced atherogenesis.
    • Rabbits are highly sensitive to cholesterol

Weaknesses of animal studies

  • Blood cholesterol response to dietary cholesterol is highly variable across and within species
  • Most animal species have different lipoprotein profiles compared to humans
  • In nonhuman primates, only extremely high doeses of dietary cholesterol induce hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis (1250-5000 mg/2500kcal)
cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Lack of evidence supporting a link between egg consumption and CHD morbidity and mortality.
  • Percentage of saturated and trans fat calories in diet is positively correlated with CHD risk.
cardiovascular diseases1
Cardiovascular Diseases

Fig 1. Relative risk of CHD incidence in males (Health professionals Follow up study) and females (Nurses Health Study) versus weekly egg consumption

Fig 2. Relationship between CVD mortality rates in men aged 35-74 among 24 countries and per capita egg consumption

  • Individuals with diabetes face an increased risk of CHD with egg consumption
    • Most studies that show a link to CHD are on diabetic patients
  • Possible relationship of egg consumption and increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
    • Mechanisms by which high egg and cholesterol consumption influence glucose homeostasis and diabetes risks are largely unknown.
diabetic studies
Diabetic Studies
  • Lithuanian study shows that participants who consumed >5 eggs/wk had a threefold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consumed <1 egg/wk
  • High egg consumption (>7 eggs/wk) before and during pregnancy were associated with increased risk of developing gestational type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Study weaknesses

    • Data was self reported through a questionnaire
    • Did not ask whether participants consumed yolks or whites only
metabolic syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome – a group of risk factors that occur together and increase risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

      • Risk factors: central obesity, high blood pressure, high blood fasting glucose levels, elevated TAG and low HDL
  • Overweight men with MetS on carb restricted diet added eggs to diet for 12 weeks
    • Significant increase in HDL, with no change in LDL
    • 100% of individuals in egg group were no longer classified as having metabolic syndrome.
metabolic syndrome studies
Metabolic Syndrome Studies

Changes in plasma HDL levels from baseline to 12 weeks in overweight men who consume a CRD including 3 eggs/wk or an egg substitute.

cholesterol dietary recommendations
Cholesterol Dietary Recommendations
  • AHA recommends no more than 300mg/d for general population in effort to reduce plasma cholesterol levels and CHD risk
    • Those with CHD are recommend no more than 200mg/d
  • Proposed in the 1970’s where there was no enough substantial evidence to support this
    • No epidemiological studies support this
    • Extrapolated data derived from early animal studies
  • Other countries do not support an upper limit, due to lack of evidence
    • Focus on limiting intakes of sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Should upper limit be removed?
    • A more reasonable goal of 500mg/d is proposed
benefits of eggs
Benefits of Eggs

Most nutrients in eggs are found in the yolk

  • Complete sources of protein (all 9 essential amino acids)
  • Major source of lutein and zeaxanthin
    • Study in the Journal of Nutrition found that women eating 6 eggs/wk for 12 weeks had increased macular pigmentation, which protects retina
  • Choline
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • B Vitamins (riboflavin, folate)
  • Zinc
  • Lecithin
weight loss
Weight Loss
  • Average egg contains
    • 210 mg of cholesterol
    • 1.5 g saturated fat
    • 6 g protein
    • 70 calories
  • Eggs promote satiety, casing lower caloric intake throughout the day
    • 2 eggs for breakfast may aid in weight loss
  • Cheap and convenient
weight loss1
Weight Loss

In comparison to a bagel based breakfast, an egg based breakfast helped participants lose weight.

After 8 weeks, the egg based breakfast showed:

  • 61% greater reduction in BMI
  • 65% greater weight loss
  • 34% greater reduction in waist circumference
  • 16% greater reduction in body fat percentage
  • Most misconceptions regarding eggs aren’t true.
  • Dietary cholesterol does not directly affect blood cholesterol levels.
  • Eggs do not increase the risk of CHD in the general population.
  • Those with diabetes should be cautious of egg consumption, though further research is needed.
  • Upper limit needs to be rethought.
  • Eggs are nutrient dense and offer many benefits.
  • Constance, C. " The good and the bad: what researchers have learned about dietary cholesterol, lipid management and cardiovascular disease risk since the Harvard Egg Study." The International Journal of Clinical Practice 2009 Oct; (suppl. 163):9-14, 27-43. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Fernandez, Maria L., and Mariana Calle. “Revisiting Dietary Cholesterol Recommendations: Does the Evidence Support a Limit of 300 mg/d?.” Current Athersclerosis Reports 2010 Nov; 12(6):377-83. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Spence, J D., David JA Jenkins, and Jean Davignon. “Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: Not for patients at risk of vascular disease.” The Canadian Journal of Cardiology 2010 Nov; 26(9):e336-9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Radzeviciene, Lina and RytasOstrauskas. “Egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a case-control study.” Public Health Nutrition 2012 Aug;15(8):1437-41. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Qiu, Chunfang, et al. “Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Relation to Maternal Egg and Cholesterol Intake.” American Journal of Epidemiology 2011 Mar 15;173(6):649-58. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Fernandez, Maria L. “Rethinking Dietary Cholesterol.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2012 Mar;15(2):117-21. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Mutungi, Gisella, et al. “Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Increases Plasma HDL Cholesterol in Overweigh Men Consuming a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet.” The Journal of Nutrition February 2008 vol. 138 no. 2 272-276University of California Berkeley Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, Berkeley, CA. 5 Oct. 2012 <>
  • Bowden, Jonny. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2007.