Prevailing recommendations call for restricting intake of dietary cholesterol and eggs for those at risk of heart disease or who already have heart disease,
This despite accumulating evidence challenging this association between eggs, cholesterol and coronary artery disease.
Eggs are a concentrated source of dietary cholesterol, and it is a general belief in the medical community that egg intake is a risk factor for high serum cholesterol.
However, eggs are relatively low in saturated fat and thus have a small effect on total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, what we generally refer to as 'bad cholesterol'.
Katz and co-workers recently published interesting results of a study in the American Heart Journal.
They wanted to take a look at the effects of daily egg consumption on endothelial cell function in adults with established coronary artery disease (CAD).
Note: the endothelial cells are a layer of cells lining the blood vessels and forming an interface between the circulating blood and the rest of the vessel wall.
The study group consisted of 32 adults (mean age, 67 years; 6 women, 26 men) with established CAD.
This research group’s prior studies showed no short-term adverse effects of daily egg intake on cardiac risk factors in at-risk adults.
Compared with the control breakfast (i.e. high-carbohydrate breakfast), daily consumption of eggs showed no adverse effects on blood flow, total cholesterol, blood pressure or body weight. •
They found no evidence of adverse effects of daily egg ingestion (2 eggs) on any cardiac risk factors in adults with CAD over a span of 6 weeks.
This study is not the only one to show that eggs are safe to eat. Many other epidemiologic studies such as the Framingham study,1 the Nurses' Health Study, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey didn't show an association between dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease ( CVD).
But, in a study by Houston et al, dietary cholesterol and egg consumption were associated with increased CVD risk only in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
References: Katz DL, Gnanaraj J, Treu JA, Ma Y, Kavak Y, Njike VY. Effects of egg ingestion on endothelial function in adults with coronary artery disease: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Am Heart J. 2015; 169:162-9.