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NUTRITION CORNER: No substantial increase in blood lipid levels if we eat up to 1 egg per day: FNRI study

Researchers do not meet eye to eye on egg consumption. A group of researchers says that it is all right to eat an egg a day. This is in contrast to the traditional belief that egg intake should be limited to two to four eggs per week.

To resolve this controversy, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI-DOST) headed by Mrs. Celeste C. Tanchoco, Scientist I and Chief, Science Research Specialist, conducted a study on the effect of egg consumption on lipid profile among selected 30-60 year old Filipino adults. Included in the study were 58 male subjects and 57 females or a total of 115 subjects. One group started with the egg-eating phase and told to eat an egg a day for three months while the second group, with eggless diet. After three months, they were given two weeks break period. At the end of two weeks, the participants were then requested to refrain from eating eggs or any food that may contain eggs. The second group of participants followed the same treatment schedule but started with no egg and ended with egg-eating phase.

Results of the study showed that there was a significant increase in LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol triglyceride among female subjects but no significant differences was seen among males after the egg-eating phase. During the egg eating phase a significant decrease in HDL cholesterol and a significant increase in LDL cholesterol were seen among the 41-50 year old subjects. On the other hand, at the end of the no egg phase, the total cholesterol of this same group of subjects was found significantly higher compared to the cholesterol level at the start of the intervention. Total energy intake, protein and fat were higher during the egg-eating phase compared with the no egg phase.

The results of the study revealed that it is unlikely that we  have substantial increase in blood lipid levels if we consume up to 1 egg per day.

The truth in egg is that it is the cheapest source of high quality protein food. Egg also contains all the essential amino acids which are vital to our health. It has choline that develops memory function and improves memory capability. It also contains vitamins, such as folate and vitamin D. Folate is vital for the prevention of birth defects in infants and heart diseases in older folks while vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and essential in keeping the bones strong.

On the other hand, the egg yolk, though an excellent source of iron, riboflavin and vitamin A,  is high in cholesterol which contributes to high blood cholesterol levels, a major risk factor to coronary heart disease and stroke. FNRI-DOST’s analysis on the cholesterol content of the egg yolk revealed that it contains 731.6 mg cholesterol per 100 grams which is high.

Cholesterol and other fats are carried in the blood stream in the form of lipoproteins. LDL or low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol as it contributes to the build up of plaque in the arteries. HDL or high density lipoprotein on the other hand is good cholesterol as it helps remove cholesterol from the blood, preventing the fatty build-up in the artery walls and formation of plaque in the arteries.#