NEWS ON EGGS

The Poultry Bulletin - - LOCAL NEWS -

N It’s very good news for egg con­sumers and the egg in­dus­try: the NZHF has re­laxed its pre­vi­ous rec­om­men­da­tions on egg con­sump­tion, rec­om­mend­ing that those at risk of heart dis­ease can eat as many as six eggs per week – up from the pre­vi­ous three. For the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion who have a heart-healthy diet, there is no re­stric­tion, but pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to foods that are eaten along­side eggs.

Key find­ings

Eew Zealand’s Heart Foun­da­tion en­dorses the egg ggs are a nu­tri­tious whole food that can be part of a heart-healthy di­etary pat­tern. They are an in­ex­pen­sive source of pro­tein and other nu­tri­ents such as carotenoids, vi­ta­min D, B12, se­le­nium and choline. While egg yolks are high in

choles­terol and are a ma­jor source of di­etary choles­terol, it is sat­u­rated fatty acids that have a greater ef­fect on blood choles­terol lev­els and, there­fore, your risk of heart dis­ease.

Pre­vi­ously, the NZHF rec­om­mended that peo­ple at high risk of heart dis­ease limit egg in­take to three per week. How­ever, since the orig­i­nal po­si­tion paper was pub­lished in 1999, most or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world have re­laxed their ad­vice on eggs. In line with this, the Heart Foun­da­tion last year com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tific re­port, which in­volved a thor­ough re­view of the ex­ist­ing re­search. Based on that re­view, the over­all ev­i­dence for the ef­fect of eggs on blood choles­terol or on those at risk of heart dis­ease has been deemed in­con­sis­tent. There are strong lim­i­ta­tions to many of the stud­ies re­viewed, in­clud­ing dif­fer­ences in find­ings be­tween co­hort and in­ter­ven­tion stud­ies, plus a high level of in­dus­try-funded re­search.

Al­though eggs are high in di­etary choles­terol, the weight of ev­i­dence sug­gests eggs have only a very small ef­fect on blood choles­terol lev­els, es­pe­cially at nor­mal lev­els of in­take in New Zealand. For most peo­ple, any such in­creased risk is not likely to be clin­i­cally mean­ing­ful.

While the ev­i­dence is not clear enough to say there is no as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween di­etary choles­terol and heart dis­ease risk, the ev­i­dence is also not strong enough to war­rant con­tin­u­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to limit egg in­take to three per week.

Over­all, epi­demi­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence sug­gests six to seven eggs per week does not in­crease heart dis­ease risk.

There has been a lim­ited amount of re­search since 1999 in peo­ple with hy­per­lip­i­daemia, and epi­demi­o­log­i­cal re­search

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