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Eating the whole egg better for heart health

The American Egg Board is promoting new research that suggests eating the whole egg is better for heart health than only egg whites.

While consumers concerned about their cholesterol have been advised to limit their consumption of eggs to just the whites, a study involving middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome (a combination of several symptoms including large waistline, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar) shows that may not be advisable, a release says. Individuals with any combination of three of those factors is considered at higher risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The results of the study published in the publication Metabolism suggests that including whole eggs as part of a weight loss diet may have positive effects on lipoprotein profiles for such individuals.

Research subjects consumed either three whole eggs or an equivalent amount of egg substitute daily as part of a carbohydrate-restricted weight loss diet.

“Although participants eating the whole eggs were consuming twice as much cholesterol as they had at the beginning of the study, the researchers observed no effects on total blood cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels after 12 weeks on the diet. All participants, including those consuming whole eggs, had improved lipid profiles with decreases in plasma triglycerides and increases in HDL cholesterol.”

“Eating egg yolks was actually associated with enhanced health benefits in these high-risk individuals,” said Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez, lead study author and professor at the University of Connecticut. “Subjects consuming whole eggs had greater increases in HDL cholesterol and more significant reductions in the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio than those who ate the cholesterol-free egg substitute.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service has reported that eggs now have 14 per cent less cholesterol (down from 215 mg to 185 mg) and 64 per cent more vitamin D than previously thought.

The release also points out eggs are sources of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. “Many of these nutrients reside in the yolk, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that may prevent macular degeneration and consequent age-related blindness.”

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