Are Eggs Bad for Me?May 06, 2020
Let's ask cardiologist Dr. Jennifer Schwartz
"Yankees vs. Red Sox, Michigan vs. Michigan State, eggs or no eggs. The back and forth over whether eggs increase your cholesterol levels has been going on for decades. As an obesity medicine doctor and cardiologist, many of my patients will question me about eating eggs regularly. And yet eggs are a great source of protein and almost a staple in a good nutrition plan. So what is the “scramble” on eggs?
In cardiology we understand that our blood cholesterol levels are mostly determined by Dad, Uncle George, and Grandma Libby. It’s mostly genetic. Nonetheless, we are fascinated with how our food consumption contributes to those yearly blood tests. And our biggest focus: eggs. Forget the onion rings, the bacon cheeseburger and the cheesecake. I am asked all of the time, “How can I eat eggs so often? Won’t it raise my cholesterol?”
Well, the medical research has actually gone back and forth on this. In January 2019, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) caught everyone’s attention. It concluded that egg consumption was associated with increased heart disease and stroke. This contradicted prior studies.
In attempts to try to settle this debate, the American Heart Association published a Science Advisory on dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk in January, 2020. The Advisory found that after reviewing 19 studies, most did not show any relationship between consumption of cholesterol and cardiovascular outcomes. In another study of over 170,000 patients, people who ate more than 7 eggs per week, did not have an increase in death compared with patients who ate less than 1 egg per week. Just last month, a group at Harvard published a meta-analysis of over 14,000 patients with 32 years of follow up. Eating an average of one egg per day was not associated with an increase in coronary heart disease or stroke. In the U.S. eggs contribute 25% of dietary cholesterol.
Overall, healthy nutrition plans are inherently low in cholesterol and the use or addition of eggs to this type of plan should not be concerning. The focus should really be on a food plan that you and your health care team design to help you reach your health goals. So as an obesity medicine specialist and cardiologist, I say, “I’m egg-cited for you to try a frittata! It’s egg-cellent.”