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Low-cholesterol eggs? This smells fishy.

Low-cholesterol eggs? This smells fishy

Eggs are a leading source of dietary cholesterol. But adding fish oil to a hen's diet lowers the eggs' cholesterol content -- and reduces two risk factors for heart disease among those who dine on them, according to preliminary study by University of Utah nutritional biochemist Suk. Y. Oh in Salt Lake City.

Oh supplemented the diet of hens with enouth fist oil to get about 1 gram of it in each egg. Because the oil replaced about 15 percent of the fatty acids normally present in eggs, there was also a 15 to 20 percent reduction in the eggs' cholesterol levels. Oh fed these and regular eggs to 11 healthy volunteers for eight weeks. Six started with four medium-sized fish-oil-modified eggs a day; the rest ate four regular ones. In the fifth week each group switched over to the other type of egg.

Those starting with modified eggs experienced no blood-cholesterol increase until they switched to regular eggs. Then cholesterol jumped from an average of 208 milligrams per deciliter of blood to 223 mg/dl. A similar cholesterol increase occurred right away in those who started on regular eggs, but reversed when this group switched to fish-oil eggs.

Oh also saw little or no cholesterol elevation in people who ate eggs from hens fed other polyunsaturated fatty acids. But only fish oil, he says, appears capable of also modifying blood pressure. In this study it prevented the blood pressure increase that developed when subject switched to eating regular eggs daily. He concludes that fish-oil eggs may be safe -- even for those worried about their cholesterol. At present, however, their fishy taste and smell would deter most diners. That's why Oh's been working to safely deodorize the oil -- and the modified egg. He expects to have deodorized eggs by July.
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Publication:Science News
Date:May 7, 1988
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